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Public meetings begin to gather input on Multipurpose Entertainment Center

EL PASO, Texas - For years, the city has been trying to build a multi-purpose center in the Duranguito neighborhood, and for years, several people have fought to save the neighborhood because they say it has historical value. 

Some have touted it as one of the oldest neighborhoods in El Paso. Now the area is splashed with no trespassing and road closed signs, even becoming a refuge for migrants.

Most of the properties in the area have been bought by the city, but two residents have held out. Antonia Morales tells ABC-7 she’s lived here since 1967.

Remembering a time when families gathered and enjoyed a sense of community.

Tonita, as she’s called — says she stands firm in her opposition to the multi-purpose center being built in the neighborhood.

But only a few blocks away, the city unveiled a feasibility study.

“It’s part of our next steps to really capture the opportunities, to be able to understand what the community is looking for in terms of the types of events that can be hosted at the facility,” said the city’s Chief Operations Officer, Sam Rodriguez.

Options for public input included, what shape would you like to see the building? Would you like to see a basketball arena? Or an open lawn festival type of venue.

“I think the city is long overdue for a multi-purpose center,” said Ross Dahman. Supporters like Dahman came up with ideas.

“They need unique architecture involved with a movement of water,” Dahman said.

“Part of the feasibility is that we present and develop a concept that’s financially feasible that can sustain itself,” Rodriguez said.

The city is still fighting a major legal battle in the Texas Supreme Court involving archeological digging permits.

Officials say they will not demolish, break ground or build until they clear any lawsuit in the way.

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Jerry Najera

Jerry Najera is an ABC-7 reporter/photographer.


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