Fences surrounded the buildings in the historic Duranguito neighborhood in order to protect them in the proposed Downtown Arena’s footprint. As the project moves forward, the opposition remains strong.
Duranguito residents and preservationists hold their neighborhood identity close, as they City of El Paso got the green light to include sporting events in the arena.
“We are abiding by all the rules and regs, that the other side was arguing that we should’ve done to begin with,” Mayor Dee Margo told KTSM, “The other side cost this city well over a million dollars in legal fees that have just been repudiated by this action today. So it’s a shame that we had to pay that to get to where we are today which is where we should’ve been a year ago, so we can start the work on the Multipurpose Special Events Center.”
The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled the City can host sports in the facility, but some still say the didn’t agree with the project in the first place.
“If they believe that neighborhoods are important in this city, then why are they doing this to our first neighborhood. Our oldest neighborhood. To our most historically significant neighborhood,” Chicana historian and writer Dr. Yolanda Chavez Leyva shared.
As for demolition, the Duranguito legal team believes construction for the proposed arena should not be happening in the historic neighborhood.
“This is not the best location for the facility. Whether it includes sports or not. And we think that the citizens of El Paso are on our side,” Attorney Carmen Rodriguez said.
Opponents of the arena have 30 days to appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court. Their legal team says it will be studying Wednesday’s ruling in the next few days before deciding on their next move.