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Demolition of Cohen Stadium to begin when city hires developer, city engineer says

The process to demolish Cohen Stadium in Northeast El Paso will begin when the city of El Paso reaches an agreement with a developer, said city engineer Sam Rodriguez, the director of the Capital Improvements Department.

The master plan to develop the old Cohen site, developed with input from the community, was approved in August of 2017. The plan includes the demolition of the stadium, Rodriguez said.

“The northeast has been forgotten. We consider Cohen stadium a stranded investment. You know in its heyday, it was something that was happening on a regular basis you know. We had the Diablos there. But once we moved the baseball arena downtown that property kind of got lost in the shuffle,” Rep. Sam Morgan said.

“I think the land should be re-purposed for something better than an empty stadium that is not being used,” said El Paso resident Jorge Rivera.

El Paso City Council recently approved nearly $2.5 million for site preparation. Rodriguez clarified prepping the site this includes completing the master grading and drainage plan, obtaining all the permitting required for the development of the site, and demolition of areas “as needed for new development.”

“Site preparation is absolutely critical for us to attract the private investment. They need to know that we are serious about developing that area. And the only way they can know that is by the council going ahead and approving the prep of the site,” Morgan said.

Rodriguez told ABC-7 the site readiness design work will begin within approximately two months. The actual demolition of the stadium will proceed once new developer has been contracted. “We anticipate that will be later this year. Construction of the regional water park is scheduled for fall of 2018,” said Rodriguez.

In late January 2018, the city of El Paso unveiled the master plan for the property. 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. “Yes, I used to go there when I was a kid, but like I said they have the Chihuahuas now. So, it will be nice to have something else like a wet and wild or something like that over here in the northeast,” said El Paso resident Jesus Castillo. “It is going to create jobs, immediately it is going to put money in the tax rolls. It’s going to attract private investment into an area that just has not been developed at the same clip or pact as the rest of the community,” Morgan said.

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