El Paso

City Council briefed on Reimagining Cohen masterplan

City Council briefed on Reimagining Cohen masterplan

El Paso city council will soon decide what to do with Cohen Stadium.

Council was briefed on the master plan for the Reimagining Cohen project on Monday. Council also got to see what residents are calling for to redevelop the site.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic about it," District 4 city representative Sam Morgan said. "The concept has given us so many opportunities to look at different ways to activate that site."

Cohen Stadium was home for the El Paso Diablos baseball team until 2013. After that, it hosted a few city events, fairs and charity walks.

Morgan said reaching out to Northeast residents was crucial. The city convened with two different focus groups to develop the plan.

Residents called for flexible open spaces, diverse retailers and a multipurpose athletic center.

"The Northeast in general has suffered from an image problem for a long time," Morgan said. "We believe there is a lot of positive energy with moving that community forward."

The City already has funding to build a $7.7 million water park in the Cohen area. The city also has more than $5 million from state funding to build a media broadcasting studio in the site.

City officials said the rest of the funding will need to come from a public-private partnership.

"The site out there is owned by the city and as a result it doesn't collect any tax revenue for the city right now. If a hotel or a restaurant gets built out there, there's going to be a taxing component -- a taxable value for the hotel or the restaurant," city engineer Sam Rodriguez said. "That increment in taxes for those particular amenities, is going to make the money available to do the public improvements."

City council will vote to approve the masterplan on May 1.


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