El Paso

City: More money needed to repair Cohen Stadium

City- More money needed to repair...

El PASO, Texas - The city of El Paso is trying to come up with a long-term plan for Cohen stadium.

A windstorm damaged the shade canopy structure again this past January and so far, no repairs have been made.

City Rep. Lily Limon described the stadium's appearance as horrible at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

"I think it's those straggly pieces of the canopy that really makes it look horrible very shabby,"  Limon said.

Limon also questioned why it is taking so long for the city to repair the wind damage.

"I was just trying to remember when this incident happened. So, I just randomly found KVIA. Joey Carrera did a story. So this was back in January, Jan. 25 when this thing took place. So that was January. Here it is June. I know I went by there at least two weeks ago and the canopies pieces are still kind of blowing in the wind," Limon said.

The city gave temporary control of the stadium to Destination El Paso back in 2014. The agency was asked to access the immediate critical needs of the facility, make recommendations for short term repairs and bring events back to Cohen Stadium.
 
City officials say the city recently completed a structural analysis and is currently looking at two potential design plans for the stadium. The is city is also in the  process of trying to secure some insurance money to make the needed repairs.

Bryan Crowe is the general manager of Destination El Paso.

"Since it is currently under redesign, and it's under evaluation from the insurance company we have been very cautious to preserve some of the conditions for those evaluations. So that we don't in any way affect the city's ability to make an insurance claim. It's kind of a cautious path that we are working through," Crowe said.

City officials say an insurance company is willing to pay $500,000 to repair the canopies, but that is not enough to prevent future wind damage.

Deputy city manager of Public Works and Transportation Khalil Zaied told City Council and the mayor the city has yet to identify the funding needed to complete the project.

"So I want to make that very clear that the funding is not there right now. Even with the insurance claim, even with the insurance amount that we have, we will not have the entire amount of money that we will need to complete the project," Zaied said.

Rep. Peter Svarzbein believes repairing the canopies is not the real issue.

"There needs to be a much larger conversation about how to sort of master plan that space, whether it is an auditorium or something else," Svarbein said.

City manager Tommy Gonzalez said he has asked staff to come up with a long-term plan for Cohen stadium.

The city is reportedly negotiating with the insurance company for a larger payment to cover repairs.

 


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