El Paso

City unveils master plan for Cohen site; regional water park, sports facility, restaurants and hotel

Cohen Stadium Meeting

EL PASO, Texas - The city of El Paso unveiled the comprehensive master plan for the future of the Cohen site at a community meeting.

The 50-acre plan highlighted proposed future public and entertainment uses for the Cohen site including; hotels, retail, restaurants and bars, athletic and recreational facilities, and green spaces.

While no retail or restaurant names were confirmed, those in the audience did get a glimpse of what the city is hoping to lure to El Paso. Something like the Pappas restaurant chain.

"Typically when you have gone to Pappas, you will see all their concepts all together. You will see a Pappas Steakhouse, a Pappadeaux, and a Pappasitio's. So, that type of concept, kind of like a restaurant row is what we are looking at," said Jessica Herrera, the director of Economic and International Development for the city of El Paso.

"I like the restaurants, we need more restaurants here in the northeast. It's like a central park. I think it's going to be real nice," said Bruce Manvell, a northeast El Paso resident.

Audrey Medina has lived in the northeast for decades and says the area is long overdue for a project like this one.

"We need that in El Paso. I'm tired of driving to the east side or the west side. I would like to stay in my neighborhood," Medina said.

Some at the community meeting worried about the potential water waste a regional water park might bring. But city officials say there are a lot of systems in place to recapture the water.

The master plan does not include Cohen Stadium. The city could decide to raze the stadium to make room for the new development.

The plan was revealed at a community meeting held at the Transmountain Campus of El Paso Community College which was attended by more than 300 people.

The development of the plan included a public outreach phase that invited members of the general public to offer their thoughts on potential future uses for the site and a process to validate those ideas through focus group discussions, according to a news release.

City officials aim to revitalize the Cohen area, making it a destination point for visitors, residents and businesses, and a catalyst for future development in the Northeast.

Back in October, hundreds also packed a community meeting focused on the future of the site in northeast El Paso.

After listening to community members, city staff removed housing from the master plan.

"I'm glad they went through the different stages. They got the input from the individuals in the community.  And the finished product, well it ain't finished, but what they came up with it looks very good on the screen," said northeast El Paso resident Kenneth Broomfield Sr.

For many who live and work in northeast El Paso, the dilapidated Cohen Stadium has become more than just an eyesore. It's a reminder that most of the city's big development and redevelopment projects are not happening on that side of town.

District 4 Rep. Sam Morgan is working to change that and has said he has the support of the mayor, council and city staff to redevelop the Cohen Stadium area.

LINK: City Presentation on Cohen Stadium redevelopment

The development of a master plan is typically initiated and completed before a project enters the design phase to ensure the site is developed in an orderly, efficient, and cost-effective manner, according to a news release.

The city is looking for a master developer for the project. The master plan will still have to be approved by City Council.

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