The City of El Paso says it's definite: a baseball stadium will fit in Downtown El Paso at the location of the current City Hall.
Some streets will be affected. Missouri Street will be narrowed and made a one-way street and there is a chance Santa Fe Street could be narrowed.
City Engineer Alan Shubert said this will make for a unique baseball stadium.
"The discussion that is going on that I think has created a lot of misunderstanding. If you take a cutout of Cohen Stadium and you lay it over the City Hall site, it absolutely will not fit. Cohen stadium won't fit on this site. But what people don't realize is that nobody is building ballparks like Cohen Stadium was built anymore," Shubert said.
Shubert said that even though the City Hall site is just under 5 acres the baseball stadium will fit and said it'll be a more intimate ballpark.
"They're building them smaller, with fewer fixed seats, wider concourses, the fans are closer to the game," Shubert said.
Even though this is just a preliminary draft, designers were really inspired by the current architecture in Downtown El Paso as seen at the at the Union Plaza's parking garage, entertainment district and anchored by the Union Depot. So there's a possibility the baseball stadium could incorporate similar architecture.
Shubert said the stadium will have a 360- degree walking concourse that wraps around the ballpark and even an area where people can just lay on blankets and watch the game.
"One of the things that makes baseball a unique game is that ball fields are not the same," Shubert said. "It's not like a football field where they're all a hundred yards long and 50 yards wide. Baseball stadiums vary all over the map in terms of distances to center, distances to left and right."
Because the site is just under 5 acres left field will be shorter than typical stadiums which means there will be a wall that's at least 20-feet tall so batters aren't able score cheap homeruns. The most famous example of this type of fence is Fenway Park's Green Monster.
Another unique aspect about the stadium is that there will be difference in elevation from the street to the ballpark so drivers on Santa Fe street will actually be able to look into the stadium.
The City's Engineering and Construction Management Department has retained Populous, Inc. consulting to produce conceptual designs and a program for the stadium that establishes the dimensions and elevations of the stadium as well as its relationship to the surrounding streets and buildings, according to a City news release.
In the very near future, a Request for Qualifications will be released from the Engineering and Construction Management Department soliciting Architects for the actual detailed design of the stadium. It is one of many actions that will be taken to City Council subsequent to the approval of the team purchase by the Pacific Coast League and approval of a Lease Agreement between the Mountain Sports Group and the City Council.
Additionally, the City is currently having a traffic study performed to establish how much of the surrounding streets could be taken into the ballpark to maximize land use without negatively affecting the circulation of the surrounding area.
El Paso City Council on June 26 approved building a baseball stadium at the site of the current City Hall in Downtown. The measure passed by a vote of 6-2.
To make way for ballpark opening by spring of 2014, City Hall would have to be demolished by early 2013 with a 14-month construction schedule.