Cohen Stadium needs extensive repairs, price tag over $1 million

Cohen Stadium trashed by previous tenants, according to city

EL PASO, Texas - ABC-7 has learned just how bad Cohen Stadium's previous tenants left the facility when they moved out after ending a lease with the city of El Paso.

A public records request was sent to the city of El Paso last Tuesday for the Cohen condition documents. Turns out there were so many e-mails, report pages and pictures, that the city attorney's office had to put them all on a disk.

"It's very disturbing from a citizen's standpoint that we would have tenants do damage to a facility that they were leasing," DIstrict 4 City Representative Carl Robinson said.

According to reports from El Paso's Engineering and Parks and Rec departments, Cohen Stadium was left a mess by the baseball management group that last leased it. The El Paso Diablos were playing independent league baseball before an agreement between the cohesive team owners and the city ended in February 2014.

Robinson doesn't want to see the stadium deteriorate further. He and other city council members are trying to come up with a redevelopment plan.

"I feel that the citizens of El Paso, not just the northeast but as a whole, deserve a facility that's up to date," Robinson said.

Redeveloping and repurposing Cohen is going to come with a hefty price tag.

A private company did a facilities condition assessment. It was release in November of 2013. The report showed $860,000 worth in repairs would be needed just so the building would be safe and accessible to most people.

The MNK Architects assessment report breaks down recommendations into three priorities with a "probable cost" of nearly $1.2 million in work needed.

"We were aware that there were some maintenance issues, as well as an outstanding utility bill," Robinson said. The last figure he heard for the electricity bill was close to $150,000.

The report allocates a huge chunk of the money to cover the cost of fixing the stadium's parking lot and driveways. Seal coating is needed for cracks, and the stability of the light post bases is also considered in poor condition.

"Cohen is an asset ... so we want to maintain that asset," Robinson said.

Surprisingly the report shows that the stadium is mostly up to code compliance. The 2,500 space parking lot and 9,000 seat facility would really just need extensive repairs and clean up before being used again, for whatever purposes the city decides to use it for.

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