EL PASO, Texas - The city of El Paso is standing firm on its plans to build a downtown arena in the Duranguito neighborhood despite a homeowner refusing to sell her property.
The city will simply build the arena around the property, the city attorney said Tuesday.
Wednesday, ABC-7 spoke with three residents on Chihuahua Street who have very different stories to tell.
One woman ABC-7 talked with is moving, another is uncertain about her future and the last is refusing to leave her home.
Wednesday was moving day for Ana Alferez, her husband and her son Carlos. After renting an apartment in Duranguito for 18 years, Alferez is thrilled to be moving into a much larger three-bedroom home on the East Side.
"It's much nicer than where I live now," Alferez said, adding she is thrilled to leave behind an apartment with a leaky roof and electrical problems.
Carlos told ABC-7 the city gave the family a check for $10,000. The family is relieved to be moving out of an apartment and into a home with a yard for their two dogs, Coco and Gorda.
But just next door, the mood is much different at Emily Gardea's home she has rented for 15 years.
"I don't want to move," a crying Gardea told ABC-7. Gardea said she has lived in the Duranguito neighborhood 40 years.
When asked if she was scared, Gardea said, "Yes. I don't know where I am going. Because of my dogs, I can't go to an apartment."
Gardea said the city has yet to contact her, but according to her landlord, officials should be stopping by soon.
Gardea's next-door neighbor, Romelia Mendoza, is the lone property owner refusing to sell.
Mendoza's property is located just on the edge of the arena footprint near the corner of Chihuahua and Paisano.
City Attorney Syliva Borunda-Firth said the the plan is to build the $180 million, voter-approved arena around Mendoza's property.
ABC-7 reached out to Mendoza Wednesday, but was unable to speak directly with her.
THE CITY OF EL PASO SENT ABC-7 A LIST OF COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING THE ARENA AND ANSWERS:
Q: Has the City of El Paso acquired properties within the footprint of the Master Plan area for the proposed Multipurpose Performing Art and Entertainment Center?
A: There are 22 properties within the footprint of the Master Plan area. The City of El Paso already owns two (2) of the properties. The City of El Paso has contacted the property owners within the footprint to express interest in acquiring their properties.
Q. How many properties has the City acquired?
A. None at this time, however all properties except for one have willing sellers and are under contract.
Q. What is the total cost to the City for property acquisitions?
A. Property acquisition costs are not yet available as sales are not final.
Q. Does the City plan to use eminent domain to acquire properties within the footprint of the Master Plan area?
A. No. Condemnation is not necessary because we have willing sellers for all but one of the properties. The City will work to deliver the project with the properties acquired.
Q. When will the relocation process start?
A. The relocation process has begun. Several tenants have requested their relocation assistance and have moved on their own accord upon receiving their relocation assistance. All tenants (residential and commercial) will be provided with at least a 90-day notice and will be moved using relocation assistance plans customized to meet their specific needs.
Q. Will the City of El Paso determine where the impacted residents and businesses have to relocate to?
A. No. Impacted residents and businesses will decide where in the El Paso city limits within a 50-mile radius from their current location they want to relocate to.
Q. When will tenants be contacted to inform them of the property acquisitions and of their relocation assistance?
A. The City of El Paso has been in communication with tenants (residential and commercial) to learn about their relocation needs.
Q. Will the relocation assistance plans include moving cost reimbursements?
A. Yes. The City of El Paso relocation assistance plans will be customized to meet the needs of tenants (residential and commercial) and will include moving cost reimbursement and replacement housing costs.