May 10, 2017

City of El Paso Going to Court Over Challenges to Arena


The ongoing struggle to build a new multipurpose arena in downtown El Paso may finally be settled in Austin.

After receiving a legal notice from opponents of the project noting an upcoming lawsuit against the project, the City of El Paso has petitioned for what is called a declaratory judgment, allowing work to begin on the $180 million arena.

The origins of the dispute are rooted in the opposition of residents and some city activists to building the arena in the Duranguito neighborhood. Although El Paso recently announced that it had acquired enough property in the area to build the arena, opponents have contended that the original ballot language for the bond funding of the project was misleading.

That language said that the 2010 Quality of Life bond would fund a multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment center. But it did not specifically mention that the arena would be built in downtown El Paso.

That distinction is important because city officials have maintained that, after surveying other possible sites, the Duranguito area is the only viable section of downtown El Paso where the arena could be built.

In its petition, El Paso notes that even if a downtown location was not included in the bond language, the original ordinance calling for the bond said that the project would be located in downtown El Paso.

El Paso’s plea will be heard in the Travis County District Court on May 30. 


By Garry Boulard

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