Wednesday, November 24 2021

A proposal to examine the potential cost of the hotly debated downtown El Paso arena is back on the city council’s agenda after it was shot down last week.

But this proposal comes from the other side.

Last week, a divided council rejected a proposal from city representative Claudia Lizette Rodriguez to ask city manager staff to compare the costs of new arenas across the country in order to come up with an estimate for a venue of 15 000 seats that voters approved in a bond election in 2012.

At that time, the budget for such an arena, designated on the ballot as a “multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment center”, was $ 180 million.

That number may have been low at the time, but the arena project has been challenged in court by opponents and delayed for so long that some informal estimates put the current cost of such a venue at over $ 400 million. of dollars.

City representative Isabel Salcido, who joined the council majority last week to vote against Rodriguez’s proposal, added an item to Monday’s council agenda calling for a more professional cost estimate.

“What was offered by the author was an estimate,” Salcido said on Friday. “It’s like numbers thrown on the wall by staff.

“This is where I feel like taxpayers’ money… is not being spent wisely. These staff are not experts, and voters deserve a precise estimate.

His proposal calls on council to direct city manager Tommy Gonzalez or his representative to hire a consultant and execute the contracts necessary to review the project concept, potential partnerships, and estimate the costs of building and operating the facility. ‘an arena.

City representative Alexsandra Annello, who had informed fellow council members that she would be out of town on Monday, said she was offended that Salcido had posted the item on the council’s agenda Monday instead of Tuesday.

“It’s the same item on the agenda,” Annello said. “All the solutions she proposes could have been discussed at the last meeting.

“Unfortunately, there is always an air of refusal to compromise with people who clearly have concerns about the downtown area.”


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