Edit: This news story was mutually co-developed by Eddie Velazquez. Mutual effort and time built this article.
City Council approved a multipurpose arena to be built in Downtown El Paso, on Tuesday afternoon.
The $180 million arena was ratified by a 7-0 vote. The session also saw the absence of City Representative Peter Svarzbein.
In order to make this construction project possible, the Council plans to use the power of eminent domain. When approved, this grants the government power to seize private property and give it a public purpose, while offering monetary compensation.
Included in the designated area are 7 commercial, and 7 residential spaces. Among these are buildings like the El Paso Greyhound station, Mr. Photo Booth, Quick Mart, and the Leon St. multifamily homes.
Regarding the state of business in the area, Borderland Brawlers Boxing Club founder, Gerardo Hernandez, was quoted saying "everyone here already pays outrageous electrical and water bills and rent as it is; making it harder for small businesses to succeed."
Adding to the constant state of construction in the downtown area, the arena could pose a potential transit problem. It makes it "dangerous for people by frustrating the drivers," Hernandez said.
However, in a released email that detailed the development plan, City Manager Tommy Gonzalez explained some of the details behind this new project. "Our selection objective was to find the best location possible that supports the vibrancy of downtown, builds on our existing assets, has easy access to highways, and impacts the fewest number of properties possible," stated Gonzalez.
Concerned citizens are voicing their complaints over social media, and civic events. Furthermore, Mayor Oscar Leeser seems to be backing this dissenting opinion by saying he does not support the use of eminent domain.