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El Paso City Council shows support for downtown arena project, rejects effort to halt it

Map shows the proposed Duranguito arena site.
Map shows the proposed Duranguito arena site.

EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso city leaders on Tuesday voted to keep the multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment center, also commonly known as the downtown arena project, on the table.

City Council members Alexsandra Annello and Claudia Rodriguez placed an item on the agenda calling for suspending the construction, demolition and archeological survey on the land for the eventual site of the facility due to the financial losses mounting for the city because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

City manager Tommy Gonzalez told the mayor and council that there were no plans at this moment to move forward with the construction or demolition of buildings, and that the only money spent so far on the 2012 voter-approved quality-of-life bond project has been on land acquisition and litigation.

The litigation involves on-going lawsuits filed by activist Max Grossman, who seeks to halt the project on historical preservation objections involving the Duranguito neighborhood, where the arena would be built.

Both Mayor Dee Margo and Mayor pro-tempore Peter Svarzbein have suggested that arena opponents were playing politics under the cover of virus concerns.

But Annello and Rodriguez argued that fellow representatives were more receptive to furloughing about 400 city employees than on the plan to suspend moving forward with the arena.

In the end, only Annello and Rodriguez  voted in favor of suspending the arena project with the rest of their fellow representatives voting against suspending it.

In contrast, Monday's vote to furlough city employees was unanimous.

The city's chief financial officer has estimated that the city is facing an $86 million shortfall over the current and coming fiscal budget years as a result of decreased revenues due to the virus outbreak.

Saul Saenz

El Paso native Saul Saenz is a veteran reporter who also hosts ABC-7 Extra.

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. More wasted taxpayer funds on an Arena that will suck the City dry just like the Baseball Park and Golf Course STOP trying to make El Paso something its never going to be

  2. In the very beginning I was in support of a new arena but now I’m not. We are wasting millions of valuable tax dollars. We could all agree that money could be used to fix our horrible and unsafe streets.

  3. The city wouldn’t want to give in to Max Grossman. If the arena project goes away then Grossman wins. Regardless City Council needs to be furloughed.

  4. All Citizens of El Paso need to protest any increase in property taxes and demand reduction as this City has not delivered on quality of life for the majority but have lined their pockets for them selfs and others, as well as handing out taxes breaks like candy to a business that product no extra revenues for the city and then go out of business, Top Golf Fly El Paso and Great Wolf lodge just a few failures we have had to pick up the tab along with a Ballpark running in the red, and you think an Arena will be profitable LOL

      1. That old line is no longer used. Its now the Trumpites who are costing the taxpayers. You would know that if you watched something other than Fox News.

        1. How would you know? You don’t pay any taxes you section 8 welfare queen. You watch too much fake news CNN, MSNBC, CBS and ABC. Tax and spend libtards run El Paso dolt.

  5. We need to vote these crooks out of office. Duranguito should be saved and restored with private donations. The arena could have been built months and dollars ago on a less controversial site but the thievery prevented that. Again, just as in Washington, “the emperor has no clothes”. Get rid of all of them at the ballot box.

  6. Ah yes, the economy going to shit and local businesses dying is a risk they’re willing to take, but their little vanity project in Duranguito, oh no no no that MUST be saved!

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