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Judge: El Paso Can Construct Venue, But Not as Sports Arena

Arena Digest

A ruling in a hearing for a proposed El Paso venue says the city move forward on planning a multipurpose facility, but not as a sports arena.

Over Monday and Tuesday, a two-day hearing took place as El Paso sought validation for its proposal to construct a new venue on a site that includes the Duaranguito neighborhood. Opponents had raised their objection to the proposal, stating that residents could be displaced by the arena’s construction, which could also cause historic buildings to be torn down in the process. They also questioned if the city was properly following the language of a 2012 bond referendum.

The ruling by Travis County 201st Civil District Court judge Amy Clark Meachum came with a key stipulation. While the judge ruled that the city had the clearance to construct a multipurpose performing arts and entertainment venue in downtown El Paso, she found that the voter-approved bonds could not be used for the construction of a sports arena. Additional information about emerge after a followup hearing in early August. More from The El Paso Star:

District Judge Amy Clark Meachum’s ruling came at the end of two days of testimony on the 2012 bond election and the city’s developing plans for the $180 million arena slated for the Duranguito neighborhood. She skipped closing arguments, stating, “I’ve already made up my mind.”

A temporary injunction that prohibits the city from demolishing or purchasing any more buildings in the proposed arena’s footprint remains in place until Aug. 1, when Meachum will call the lawsuit parties back to iron out details.

It was not immediately clear if the city may hold any sporting events in the center.

When a lawyer for the city asked Meachum if the multipurpose center can include sports, she replied, “I have said that you cannot build a sports arena, so no.”

The issue had been debated by the two sides on Monday, making it one of the points that was considered during the hearing.

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