With Diablos done, Cohen Stadium future on deck
Now that Cohen Stadium in Northeast El Paso has seen its final Diablo's game, on Tuesday City Council is scheduled to discuss the future of the 10,000-seat ballpark.
One thing is clear: The Tiguas, who hold the lease at Cohen through April of 2016, want out!
Meanwhile, business owners in the surrounding area, whose future depends on crowds coming to Northeast El Paso for events, are eagerly anticipating what's next for El Paso's 24-year-old ballpark.
"As time went on and there was less and less people," said Denis Rochford, co-owner of Northeast El Paso's Great American Land and Cattle Company. "We would have less and less people coming over to the restaurant."
Rochford said he is excited about the possibilities.
"I think the potential is enormous," he said. "It's a wonderful piece of land. I think the possibilities, and I've heard all the same rumors about a waterpark or various different things, I think they can only be positive for us."
There are a number of ideas for new uses for Cohen Stadium, including to continue to use it for baseball. There is talk of building a youth baseball complex that would still allow a waterpark to be built in one of the exterior parking lots.
"The great thing is I think baseball will continue to be played here, not pro baseball, but possibly youth baseball," said Diablo's General Manager Matt LaBranche. "I've heard things about potentially still having a waterpark in place in the future on location not actually where the stadium is but on the grounds."
A source close to the situation told ABC-7 two waterpark companies, including Wet and Wild, are interested.
The youth baseball facility idea comes from El Paso Dr. Dwayne Aboud, founder and president of the non-profit El Paso Border Youth Athletic Association, which promotes baseball in the area.
"Cohen Stadium plays a major role in not just the people in the area, but the businesses," LaBranche said. "So I hope that they find a use for the stadium where the businesses can still reap the rewards of people coming out here."
"We don't have our tail between our legs and thinking woe is me," said Rochford. "We think El Paso, and especially Northeast El Paso, deserves these wonderful things to happen and a waterpark would be wonderful. All the things they're talking about, there's nothing that would be a negative for Northeast El Paso."
Since Tuesday's discussion will take place in executive session, Northeast City Rep. Carl Robinson and Dr. Aboud declined interviews Monday about Cohen's future options. But whoever takes over Cohen from the Tiguas will likely be asked to maintain the facility. Labranche said it costs about $40,000 to $50,000 a year just to keep the field in shape.
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