Possible new surfing arena to replace Cohen Stadium

Rendering of what Cohen Stadium's land could turn into. Courtesy of Southwest Surf Ranch.

Monica Riehl is a native El Pasoan who wants to build a surfing arena in Northeast El Paso.

She is a representative from Southwest Surf Ranch.

The company builds massive indoor water facility for surfing and swimming.

Riel proposes partnering with city leaders and developers to use Cohen Stadium as the site for the new venue.

"Cohen Stadium has been described as an eyesore. Personally, I loved going to Cohen Stadium but I would like to ... (see) something that makes everyone happy developed there,” Riehl said.

She’s been working on this project for over a year now and says if approved, it will bring over 125,000 tourists to El Paso.

Riehl says the new arena will include man-made waves, big enough for surfers to train on, an ocean-like beach for swimming and several restaurants.

She says it will be an entertainment facility like no other.

"We'll see an increase in people from California, Colorado and even people from the East Coast who will want to move here because they will have predictable waves," Riehl said.

People living near Cohen Stadium seem to like the idea of a surfing arena.

Britni Silot, a student at El Paso Community College, says it would help the city grow.

"[The arena] would make this city pretty big because [right now] it feels like a small town," Silot said.

Donna Bezold, who moved to El Paso six years ago says the venue would bring more jobs to the city.

"The arena is good for business in the city [and] good for the economy here," Bezold said.

Once approved, it will take eight to 10 months to build the facility.

Riehl plans to work with the city to discuss tax incentives, budget proposals and input from the public.

Resources and funds to build the new arena have yet to be determined.

She wants the city of El Paso to know, the surfing arena is her way of helping El Paso grow.

"The [Southwest] Surf Ranch is not interested in becoming a multimillion-dollar empire. We want to give to the city," Riehl said.

City leaders and developers will pitch the redevelopment of Cohen Stadium at El Paso Community College's transmutation campus.

The meeting will start at 6 p.m. Monday.

They invite the public to come with questions and new ideas about what you want the new arena to be like.

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