Were El Paso voters aware of the baseball park when they approved the downtown arena?

Photo Credit: KFOX14

A KFOX14 viewer named Mikki had a question about the timeline involving the downtown arena that was approved by El Paso voters in the 2012 quality of life bond election.

She remembers voting for the arena because there were no downtown venues like it at the time. She recalls that if she'd known the baseball stadium was in the works back then, she wouldn't have voted for another arena in the same area.

Mikki then asked, "Am I wrong about the timeline?" In this case, Mikki, yes, because in the same election in November 2012, local voters also approved a hike in the hotel occupancy tax, which was specifically earmarked to help pay for construction of a new baseball park. Voters were also aware of the city's plan to demolish city hall to make room for the ballpark when they approved the tax hike by a margin of 60-percent to 40-percent.

I remember one of key arguments made by then City Manager Joyce Wilson for tearing down city hall to build the ballpark was because the city didn't have to worry about buying other downtown properties it didn't own, possibly using eminent domain and getting into a long legal fight with property owners and preservationists to create the space needed for the stadium.

The scenario she worried about then seems to be what's now playing out with the proposed downtown arena.

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