El Paso

El Paso City Council may change location for downtown arena

Current location would force dozens to move

El Paso City council to consider...

EL PASO, Texas - The location of El Paso's downtown arena will take center stage again at tomorrow's City Council meeting.     

There is now talk of changing the original location in Union Plaza which would have forced dozens of people to move out of one of the city's oldest neighborhoods.

A group of residents and historians opposed the original location, arguing people would have to relocate, businesses would have to close, and historical buildings would be torn down.

The original "targeted footprint" for the arena would be bound by West San Antonio Avenue, South Santa Fe Street, West Paisano Street, and Leon Street. Opponents are against the city demolishing buildings with a historical and cultural value in order to build the arena there.

Community members came together to celebrate a Christmas posada and discuss how to save their neighborhood.
The tradition is one the community fears will be lost if one of the city's oldest barrio's is erased. 

Concerned resident Michael Patino opened his Rockhouse Cafe and Gallery for the posada and to his neighbors, determined to convince the city to move the arena to a different location. 

"You can't stop the customs of the people and destroy this by a swipe of a pen," Patino said.

Leticia Herrera has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and does not want to leave.
Herrera is happy the city is considering other sites, such as the convention center, for the new downtown arena. 

City Representative Cortney Niland put the topic on Tuesday's council agenda.

"We can look to other communities like Omaha, Nebraska, who said, 'Why not combine the two? Why not have an arena and a convention center in the same facility? You don't have to pay maintenance on both. You don't have to pay utilities on both,'" said City Representative Cortney Niland.

Niland said the council may have something exciting to announce at the City Council meeting.

"What I think we can tell the community, or what I hope to be able to tell the community tomorrow is that we are listening to you, we hear your concerns. We are going to sit down tomorrow and have a dialogue. We are going to look toward other solutions," Niland said.

Back at the community meeting, El Paso Bishop Mark Seitz helped  serve food  at the posada. It is an annual tradition the people in the endangered barrio hope to be able to celebrate next year.

ABC 7 will be at Tuesday's City Council meeting and will provide updates on air and online.

 


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