El Paso

City approves funding plan for east side sports complex

City approves funding plan for expansion of Eastside sports complex

It's a first for the city.

An interesting funding plan for the expansion of an east side sports park has been approved by city council.

The park in far east El Paso at Montwood and John Hayes street is already under construction.

It will have 18 flat fields, bike and hiking trails among other amenities.

People ABC-7 spoke with are excited knowing an 80 acre sports park is being constructed in their area.

Some say they like the funding plan, others don't like some of the stipulations that come with it.

 "We have some small pocket parks out here but we don't really have large parks. In fact we don't have any large parks," Dr. Michiel Noe said in a 2016 interview with ABC-7.

ABC-7 interviewed him right after breaking ground on the park.

When completed it will have 18 fields that can be used for soccer or football. The park will also have walk and bike trails, a playground and exercise equipment.

"People that I know in this area they mostly play soccer," Ricardo Rivero said.

Rivero is a UTEP student and avid soccer player.

ABC-7 interviewed him holding his cleats in one hand and soccer ball in the other.

Rivero likes the idea of a sports park in his neighborhood.

"Some parks are crowded. There's a lot of people and you have to wait until some teams are finished practicing so another team can jump in and practice," Rivero said.

The cost of the park will be around $21 million.

$10 million from the 2012 quality of life bonds will help pay for the park but the city approved two funding methods to pay for the rest.

The city created a public improvement district or PID.

People who will live in the neighborhood that is currently undeveloped and adjacent to the park will pay about $200 a year for 15 years and they will have free access to the park.

The city also created a tax increment reinvestment zone or TIRZ. A portion of the taxes people pay in the designated area will stay in the neighborhood but there's a catch: People under the TIRZ, and anyone else that wants to use the park, will have to pay an entrance fee.

"I don't agree with the park being only for games and you have to pay to go in. Other parks are free, they can practice and still play games," Rivero said.

Construction for phase one of the park has already started. It's expected to be completed in December.

Phase two should start by February of next year.


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