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Texas Supreme Court declines to hear Duranguito appeal, clears way for City of El Paso arena project

El Paso, Texas -- The Texas Supreme Court once again rejected a request to hear a case that has deep implications for the most expensive 'quality of life project' the City of El Paso has ever undertaken.

The state Supreme Court on Friday declined to rehear a case that challenged the city's authority to build the project in the Duranguito neighborhood with bonds approved by voters in a 2012 election. Critics said the city deceived voters by failing to describe the project as a sports arena, while the city says the community knew a 'Multipurpose Performing Arts and Entertainment Center' on the ballot would include sports.

Justices did not explain why they will not hear the case.

“I am pleased with the Texas Supreme Court’s decision. We have one more legal proceeding to clear the path to building the Multipurpose Center, but this is a long awaited step in the process to fulfilling the will of the voters,” reacted Mayor Dee Margo.

With this step, the appeals court decision remains the last word, allowing the city to build the facility downtown and with funds from the 2012 'quality of life' bond election. The city will be allowed to use funding from other sources to complete or enhance the facility for sports use, something the trial judge had forbidden but an appeals court overturned. Margo has said that is a huge deal as the city could tap into other revenue streams like naming rights and such.

“Time and time again the courts have validated that El Paso voters authorized the City to build a facility with a broad entertainment purpose to include sporting events and that we can utilize outside funding to develop the project,” City Attorney Karla Nieman said in a statement after Friday's decision occurred.

The 'quality of life' bond plan allocated $180 million for the facility. It is the plan's signature project. Margo has said the project could cost upwards of $250 million given the time that has elapsed from the election.

Max Grossman, an architectural historian and professor at the University of Texas at El Paso has led the legal battle against the city for years. He was not immediately available for comment.

Grossman insists the neighborhood the city selected for the arena -- the area known as "Duranguito"-- has historic significance and is worth preserving.

His financial backer in the legal effort, famed Texas philanthropist JP Bryan, was also not available for comment.

City officials said Friday the next step as they move forward on the project is the completion of an archaeological study of the construction site. A permit granted by the Texas Historical Commission for that study remains on hold under a separate challenge from Grossman.

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Brenda De Anda-Swann

Brenda De Anda-Swann is news director at ABC-7.

Comments

16 Comments

  1. The ludicrous delay game will cost tax payers alot more than it would have before that non El Pasoan mettle in our affairs. Good for the Texas Supreme Court to deny any more hearings on this albatross around our neck.

    1. This stupid arena, that 99% of El Pasoans will never set foot in is the albatross.

      Unneeded and ill defined, it’ll be just another white elephant public works/waste of money.

      Like the damn ballpark, which is nice, but expensive to attend, STANDS UNUSED most of the year, and that is STILL LOSING MONEY.

      1. I tend to agree. My issue with the project is it’s going to be built at the wrong place. Not because of Grossman or the millionaire outsider”s claims of any historical value. Unless these fools think roach and rat infested buildings is historical. The voters spoke and at least these eye soars standing are finally going away. The whole thing is political and this should have been better planned in a different location.

  2. Outrageous. Unwanted, unneeded, stupid waste of TAXPAYER MONEY. Arena to “nowhere.”

    Appeal this to the SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    This profligate city is GOING BANKRUPT with stupid “vanity” projects intent on placating two BILLIONAIRES and the jetsam/flotsam hangers on (like RINO Dee Margo) hoping to “get rich” along the way.

  3. THANK YOU DR. MAX GROSSMAN. YOU ARE AS MUCH AN EL PASOAN as all the crooks, whiners and b*tchers in this city.

    Unlike them, YOU CARE that this MISMANAGED CITY IS PILING DEBT UPON DEBT on property owners/tax payers, and is GOING BANKRUPT IN THE PROCESS…

    El Paso is little more than a “wanna be” broke, California style disaster.

    1. That area has great potential as a historical district. The buildings are able to re-habbed, the area could be El Paso’s own “Western Town.”

      Right there,on the border. Touristas eat that stuff up.

      Like me and castles in the UK, I love that stuff..

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