The downtown arena is stupid. We don’t need it. We never needed it. And our elected officials aren’t telling us the truth about it.
But that train has already left the station. We’re getting a downtown arena whether we want one or not.
But there is no reason that the stupid arena has to be in that stupid location.
Have you been down there? It’s one of the coolest neighborhoods in downtown. That neighborhood has soul. Sometime, before the railroads expanded, and Paisano went to four lanes, probably lots of downtown El Paso was like that, but now that neighborhood is the last vestige of that particular slice of our history.
But that’s not the only reason that the arena shouldn’t be located there. The arena is going to be a six block monolith. Except for the occasional event, that whole neighborhood will be dark. Whatever little events take place there now, and whatever chance of a creating a future vibrant street life there, will be snuffed out like a candle on an April night.
People aren’t going to walk past that behemoth, from Union Plaza to the rest of downtown. Architects and urban planners like to promote vibrant streets through “fine grain” storefronts. Lots of little shops. Bars and cafes and pastry shops. Panaderias. There’s nothing attractive about three blocks of solid brick facade.
(And they’re going to promise you “street level retail,” but you should be used to them lying to you by now.)
Lemme tell you. You and I and the rest of the common citizens don’t have much of a chance of persuading our elected officials to make a reasonable decision. El Paso is pay-to-play, and we don’t have the jack to get in that game. But we can make some noise. We can let them know that we’re onto their game.
Go, tomorrow, to that City Council meeting, and give them an earful. You don’t have to talk at the podium. You can yell from the back of the room.