By Leonard Martinez
El Paso Times
Twelve years ago there wasn’t much more than desert meeting the Franklin Mountains on the West Side.
But the population boom of the past decade has brought in a new suburbia with new houses, restaurants, shopping centers and schools.
Long served by only one high school, the West Side hailed the 1993 opening of a second high school to keep up with the growth.
Both schools have already developed a friendly rivalry, even while many students have friends and family at both campuses. The new Franklin High School has made its presence felt in athletics with a dominating tennis team that has produced state champions. The older Coronado High has also had recent state champions with its 1995 boys soccer team.
Shopping is plentiful with a complex of national chain stores as well as unique specialty shops. Nearby Sunland Park Mall - now in its 10th year - is a hangout for many youngsters who catch a movie at the theater or visit with friends at the large food court.
The West Side, with neighborhoods such as Chaparral Heights, Mesa Hills and Cloudview, has grown into a sprawling residential area of some affluence. It stretches from the edge of the valley up onto the Northwestern slopes of the Franklin Mountains.
Traffic and the shortage of large parks are chief concerns in this suburban community.
When Lindsay Tall bought a house near Artcraft Road 12 years ago, her street was the last in the development.
“Part of the reason I moved there in the first place was so I wouldn’t be near construction and industry, and that is what is there now,” Tall said.
But for many in the area, the attraction is the convenient access to the freeway, shopping and variety of restaurants that came along with the growth.