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Downtown El Paso Ballpark: Next Tuesday’s Big Vote

Courtesy of Populous

When City Council approved the new $50 million downtown ballpark with a 6-2 vote on June 26th, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Triple-A baseball was coming to El Paso by 2014. However, with mounting opposition to the ballpark’s City Hall location,  there is a growing concern that plans to build the new stadium might get scrapped. All of these questions will be answered next Tuesday at the City Council meeting. That is when the council will vote on whether or not to move forward with the ballpark plan.

The big question regarding the downtown ballpark will be whether every city council representative will stay with their original vote from June. The latest rumor is that city representative Emma Acosta could change her vote supporting the ballpark to opposing it. If this happens, the ballpark still passes by a 5-3 margin, but things get even trickier. Mayor John Cook, who was away from City Council on June 26th, has the opportunity to veto the vote if it passes by less than 75%. A 6-2 vote means the mayor cannot get involved. However, a 5-3 vote (62.5%) would give Mayor Cook the opportunity to get involved and veto the ballpark plan. He has not publicly indicated which way he would side on the controversial issue, but the fact that he could destroy the ballpark and jeopardize Triple-A baseball is a huge concern.

Over the last few months, the people that have been most vocal about the downtown ballpark issue have been those opposed to the plan. They say that Triple-A baseball is not their issue of concern, but rather building a $50 million ballpark in place of City Hall. Those opposed argue that the amount of money spent on a new City Hall is a waste of money, and the 34 year old building does not need much in terms of renovation. What’s ironic is that four months ago, a master plan that was two years in the making was unanimously adopted by City Council. In “Plan El Paso” it states that City Hall is a building in need of repairs and upgrades. It also recommends that newer buildings be formed and City Hall be moved into one of these structures. If the city’s master plan suggests that City Hall be moved and modernized, it is surprising how many people are adamant against this.

So what can ballpark supporters do between now and next Tuesday? Here are five things those in favor of the Triple-A team and downtown ballpark can do in order to make a difference.

  1. Attend the Play Ball! Rally on Monday, Sept. 17, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Cleveland Square, Downtown.

The rally will include: special guests, t-shirts, free tickets to games, prizes, refreshments.  Free parking in the St. Regis Parking Garage.

2.  Commit to come to City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 18 (9:00 a.m.):
And, please consider speaking to Council in favor of the ballpark. We need to outnumber the opposition.
If you are willing to attend or speak, please email emargo@mithoffburton.com by Monday, Sept. 17 at noon
and we’ll make sure you’re signed up.

3. Submit a Letter to the Editor:
El Paso Times: limit of 225 words:
http://www.elpasotimes.com/townhall/ci_14227323
El Paso Inc: limit of 250 words:
https://elpasoinc-dot-com.bloxcms ny1.com/site/forms/online_services/letter/

4. Send an email to our Mayor and Council Members:
Mayor mayor@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:mayor@elpasotexas.gov>
Ann Morgan Lilly district1@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:district1@elpasotexas.gov>
Susie Byrd district2@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:district2@elpasotexas.gov>
Emma Acosta district3@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:3@elpasotexas.gov>
Carl Robinson district4@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:district4@elpasotexas.gov>
Michiel Noe district5@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:district5@elpasotexas.gov>
Eddie Holguin district6@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:district6@elpasotexas.gov>
Steve Ortega district7@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:7@elpasotexas.gov>
Cortney Niland district8@elpasotexas.gov <mailto:district8@elpasotexas.gov>

5. Join the Facebook group Bring It El Paso:
This group has started a petition and is gathering supporters for the bond issues and baseball:
http://www.facebook.com/BringitElPaso

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