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Downtown arena site approved by El Paso city leaders

Site of El Paso Downtown arena (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

The El Paso downtown arena project site was approved Tuesday by City Council members.

Seven council members voted to approve the project site south of the Convention Center.

They also approved the possible use of eminent domain to acquire the land for $180 million arena.

Reps. James Tolbert, Emma Acosta, Carl Robinson, Michiel Noe, Claudia Ordaz, Lily Limon and Cortney Niland voted in favor of the site.

Peter Svarzbein was not present for the arena vote

About 47 people who live and work in the are will be forced to move.

There were four sited proposed for the arena.

The city said the spot is perfect for downtown growth because it is just blocks away from Southwest University Park and the Convention Center and the site is less expensive.

Some El Pasoans said the area is holds to much historic value to knock down.

Mayor Oscar Lesser made it clear that he does not agree with the use of eminent domain.

Michael Patino who lives in the area does not agree with the way the city is handling the construction for the arena.

"It's going to impact people in this area very seriously and I'm not done. I'm ready to pick up and go about it legally. This is not a positive way El Paso is handling the growth of El Paso," Patino said.

Niland said the city will do everything it can do to help those who are effected.

The city said it will pay for moving costs as well as six months of rent for residents who are being forced to move.

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