Get a Hartford Courant subscription for less than 29 cents per day

University of Texas at Austin

Revitalized El Paso ready to show off for papal tourists

No longer the desolate space it was a few years ago, downtown El Paso is ripe with new hotels, bars, restaurants — and bulldozers that herald the planned construction of a streetcar, a children's museum, a Mexican-American cultural center and new mixed-used buildings.

The far West Texas city is ready to shed its long-held reputation as a center of illegal immigration and show off its revitalized streets to the tens of thousands of tourists hoping to get a glimpse of Pope Francis, who will cap a five-day visit to Mexico on Feb. 17 in neighboring Ciudad Juárez with a Mass in a large field near the border that many will be able to see from downtown.

El Paso's...