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Austin judge rules in partial favor of the city for proposed downtown arena

Gaby Velasquez

After a two-day hearing on the debate over whether a $180-million proposed arena will be permitted in the Duranguito neighborhood or not came to a close Tuesday afternoon as Travis County District Judge Amy Clark Meachum ruled with the city of El Paso that they can build a multi-purpose arena. However, the proposed facility cannot be a sporting events arena, as per the judge’s ruling.

Judge Clark Meachum asked for a follow-up hearing in early August to explain why she ruled the way she did.

On the first day of the hearing, the city attorney’s brought in a new claim as to whether or not the state will allow the use of a petition to make the Union Plaza untouchable by calling it a historical district.

This was reflective of the Duranguito residents’ petition of over 2,400 signees who are against the proposed arena and want the council to put it on a ballot to see if the community is in support of protecting Duranguito. If the vote would go in favor of making Duranguito a historical district, all construction of the arena would be stopped.

However, early in Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Clark Meachum ruled that she would not stop the petition from going into place, which benefited the Duranguito side for possibly further litigation down the line.

Both the city’s attorneys and the defense’s lawyers argued their sides with their own respective witnesses. The defense argued that the proposed bond in 2012 for the arena did not indicate any language regarding a sporting arena, thus ruling it out as a valid expense for the city.

The city, however, effectively argued that most tenants and business owners in the Duranguito area have already vacated. In fact, El Paso CFO Mark Sutter testified that in two buildings, 39 of 40 residential tenants and 65 of 66 commercial tenants accepted relocation deals from the city.

Others who testified included General Manager of Destination El Paso Bryan Crowe, local historian Dr. David Romo, El Paso Senator Jose Rodriguez and more.

Now, funds are approved for the arena, but the temporary restraining order the judge granted in June will be in effect until Aug. 1.

The hearing leaves a possibility for the case to go to an appellate court to review the judge’s ruling.

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About the Contributors
Adrian Broaddus, Sports Editor
Adrian Broaddus is the sports editor for The Prospector. He is a junior multimedia journalism major with a minor in political science.   Adrian was born and raised in El Paso, TX, and is a graduate of Franklin high school. He entered college in the fall of 2015 in hopes to better his career in journalism.   Along with sports, Adrian enjoys writing music reviews, perspective columns and news stories on politics.   Although he is pursuing his degree in journalism, Adrian would like to go to law school and be an attorney while doing part-time work in journalism.  
Gaby Velasquez, Photo editor
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Austin judge rules in partial favor of the city for proposed downtown arena