New effort delays hearing on Triple-A ballpark


POSTED: Monday, February 4, 2013 - 10:43pm

UPDATED: Monday, February 4, 2013 - 10:44pm

A new twist in court could mean a road block in the city's plans to build a Triple-A baseball stadium in downtown El Paso. It temporarily stops the city from using bond money to pay for the stadium.

"It’s I won't say unexpected because we expect that we were going to have to deal with the little issues as we move forward. Obviously there's a lot of opposition to the project and we'll just continue dealing with them as they come up," said El Paso City Attorney Sylvia Firth.

The City of El Paso went to Travis County for a bond validation, or to have a judge certify that all the proper steps had been taken to issue the bonds for the ballpark construction.

There was a planned hearing in State District Court in Austin on Monday to decide if they could proceed.

The hearing would have also included all current lawsuits against the ballpark.

But instead, a group, headed by former Mayor Ray Salazar, filed a motion Monday morning delaying that decision and is trying to take the case to federal court.

Firth said this will keep the city from issuing the bond money to pay for the ballpark project. However, the city can chose to pay for it if they’re confident the bonds will be validated and they can repay the city.

But as of Monday, it would not stop the tear down of city hall.

"There's nothing that has stopped us from moving forward with relocation or demolition at this point in time as of today," said Firth.

Othon Medina, who's a member of the group, said the city took the bond validation to Austin for a reason.

"I believe that the bond issuers do not feel safe issuing city bonds. At our rate, it’s an inconvenience that they decided to do that," said Medina.

Medina said the city should wait to put it on the May ballot.

"We're not going to listen to their opinions. We know that they're going to fight us to the nail until the bitter end and we're just using everything that is available to us to keep them from doing that," said Medina.

City officials were in Austin looking at options on how they will respond to the motion. Firth said she's unsure when this will be resolved but she hopes it will be very soon.

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