Is Abundant Living Faith Center Destroying Tricky Falls?
A little over a year ago, Abundant Living Faith Center bought the Alhambra Theater also known as Tricky Falls. Tricky Falls had been rocking the El Paso music scene as a concert venue for around 7 years but the building was sold and their lease had expired. The venue, which brought medium market bands to the historic, century-old Trost designed building in downtown El Paso, got a new lease on life that surprised pretty much everyone when it was announced that ALFC had bought the building and intended to turn it into a downtown church. People chuckled at the idea of having a church in a venue that used to attract rowdy crowds who wanted to listen to music that could only charitably be called not-church music. All that happened in February of last year. Fast forward to this week and a posting on the Trost Society Facebook page that had leveled a startling accusation against the ALFC.
Bernie Sargent, the Chair of the Trost Society along with Max Grossman, Vice-Chair of the Society, posted a letter on the page that they sent to ALFC officials but has since been scrubbed from their page. The first line said:
"It has come to our attention that the original internal balconies of the Alhambra Theatre, which was designed by Trost & Trost in 1914, are about to be demolished along with their historic ornament."
I reached out the Jared Nieman of the ALFC and sent me a statement that read:
"Hello Patricia, thank you for reaching out directly to us regarding this.
This evening, we were made aware of the post on the Trost Society's Facebook page. Unfortunately, they published that particular post without reaching out to us to address their concerns. We have messaged them privately in an attempt to explain the actualities of the situation as their claims are misleading and untrue.
We would have been more than happy to explain the actions and long-term plans regarding the Alhambra Theatre. Here is the truth:
1) We have received an interior demo permit.
2) The purpose and intent of the demo is to remove the add-ons made over the years, in an attempt to find the original internal balcony structure and design.
3) Our team has every intention to assess to what extent the original balconies can be restored, carefully abiding by the proper safety standards and code requirements.
4) Our desire is to restore as much of the original beauty and design (that can be restored). Please note, we are aware that some may not be salvageable due to wear and tear and other construction over the original.
Our church does not condone the destruction of historical sites and/or any elements associated with it. We only wish to highlight it, when, and where possible."
Grossman and Sargent posted an apology on their Facebook page that you can read here. Unfortunately, before the post was deleted, the Grossman/Sargent minions had a field day trashing the ALFC on the Society's Facebook page. The apology post has many people commenting that they are happy that the ALFC is going to stay as true to the building's history as possible, but the damage has been done. Perhaps Grossman and Sargent should wait for a response to future letters before rushing to judgement.
I can't wait to see how the renovation of the old Tricky Falls turns out, and I'm so glad to know that the ALFC and the Nieman family are fans of El Paso archeological history.