A battle that has waged for more than 2 years in El Paso regarding plans to build a $180 million downtown arena may finally be settled by the Texas Supreme Court.
In the fall of 2016, the City of El Paso proposed construction of the arena, as one of its Quality of Life bond projects, in a section of downtown known as Duranguito.
That neighborhood, populated with one and two-story wood framed houses and small businesses, was seen as historic by some preservationists who, joining with community activists, launched a campaign against the proposal.
Fought out in both the public arena as well as area courts, the battle saw an Austin district judge ruling that the $180 million could not be applied to the construction of a sports arena because the original ballot language for the proposal never mentioned that use.
That decision was subsequently overturned by the Third Court of Appeals.
Now, opponents are considering mounting legal a challenge to the Appeals court decision that will be sent to the Texas Supreme Court
The petition could be filed before the Texas higher court between now and mid-January.
The arena is defined in the 2012 bond ballot as a “multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment facility located in Downtown El Paso.”
After a site selection search, city officials determined that the Duranguito neighborhood would be the most practical for the arena, located as it is near the El Paso Convention Center and a number of downtown restaurants and bars.
Originally, the city was hoping that the arena could be built and open for business by no later than early 2020, a date that no longer seems practical, given that the first shovel for the project has yet to be put in the ground.
By Garry Boulard
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