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Northeast city rep. says budget is still in the works for Cohen Reimagined project

Urban Plaza for planned for Cohen Reimagined project. Courtesy: City of El Paso

People living in northeast El Paso now have a vision for Cohen Stadium.

Along with their District 4 city Rep. Sam Morgan, constituents have proposed a water park, an athletic complex, a bowling alley, a media broadcasting studio, an urban plaza and hotels.

The idea was unveiled Wednesday afternoon after months of research and focus groups with 40 constituents, said Morgan.

"These are the things that we would like to see out here. Now, how we activate that, that's still to be determined," said Morgan.

Morgan describes the amenities as “conceptual” since a budget has not been solidified.

"We're looking at TIF (Tax Increment Financing) and some other things. It's all about a tax incentive and basically whatever we put out here to activate the site will determine how much money we get from the state of Texas to help pay for these projects so that's still to be determined,” said Morgan

The water park was approved by City Council in December and has been funded for $7.7 million, according to a presentation by Morgan.

According to the plan laid out by the city, $5.1 million dollars from a public education grant have already been set aside for the media broadcasting studio and the outdoor jumbo screen.

Despite some of the propositions not being set in stone, Morgan said the 56 acres are large enough to build all the new amenities.

Some people are skeptical about if everything will pan out the way it has been presented.

"I was totally against it, but if we're going to build something, let's build something for the kids of the northeast,” said David Phalin, northeast El Paso resident.

“The diagram I saw on TV last night, I’m not in agreeance with. If we’re going to build a water park, let’s build something like Wet 'n Wild,” said Phalin.

Phalin, who exercises near Cohen Stadium daily, says it’s common to find trash left behind after events at the old ballpark.

“If we build it, let’s take care of it. Cohen Stadium, we haven’t taken care of it,” said Phalin.

Morgan said the next step for him is to take his plan to City Council and get their approval. He said currently, none of the new proposed amenities are set in stone.

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