An Arena? Really?

Over the last twenty years, we’ve spent a lot of money on Downtown. For Union Plaza. The Plaza Theatre. The ballpark. Relocating City Hall. San Jacinto Plaza.

Hundreds of millions of dollars. Hundreds of millions.

But it’s never enough. Like a junkie that just wants to put more smack in his arm, our “city leaders” just want more.


“Economic development,” they say.

Guess what? It’s not working.

Except for a smattering of retail, we’re not attracting any new businesses. Most of that new retail was drawn by the strength of the Mexican consumer, and the peso has lost a third of its dollar value in the last two years. That’s not coming back anytime soon.

“Stop the brain drain,” they say.

Guess what? Your son with a degree in Computer Science isn’t going to take a job serving lattes at Starbucks. Your daughter who just got her master’s in Mechanical Engineering won’t be happy running a register at Whole Foods. You think they’re going to work the snack bar at the arena?

Explain to me, like I’m five, how a new downtown arena will help your average El Pasoan.

Our elected officials keep telling us that we need the “economic development” to put more of the tax burden on commercial property owners, but they just keep sticking us with the bill for more shiny gewgaws and there’s no relief in sight, and no “economic development.”

And frankly, the City could afford to save the $180 million initial investment, and the interest and operating and maintenance costs every year.

The only people benefiting from all that investment in downtown are the developers and real estate speculators. I’m tired of our local governments and school districts picking our pockets for the benefit of their campaign contributors.

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.


  1. The five or six new hotels downtown sure qualify as economic development, n’est ce pas?

    1. Will we have more hotel guests because we have more hotels? Or will they just be cannibalizing guests from other hotels?

    2. Just more service industry job improvement. They would hold those presumably here attending a new conference or two. More service industry-related to hoteliers, restaurants, some retail, etc.

  2. My kids left town as soon as they could. Their friends too. Makes you wonder. El Paso isn’t for everybody.

    1. People also relocate here at the early/mid career points. We are 50/50—one left, one chose to return. However, we too could depart as well. The weather is not that great in the bigger scheme.

      1. I left for a while and moved to Santa Fe. I didn’t miss the El Paso weather AT ALL! Now I’m back and I miss StFe.

  3. I used to live in El Paso – El Paso does not offer a lot of highly-skilled professional jobs that would keep a person here in the long term. It’s very hard to advance here professionally because the opportunities are very limited.

    It’s a great place to relax and enjoy a slower pace of life, but ultimately, I had to leave. Shiny new amenities aren’t enough to retain people here.

  4. This is something l’ve mentioned awhile ago on a different blog. They start off telling you that this is for “economic development,” then three seconds after the $ is guaranteed, they then switch there story to, ‘well, this won’t help us economically, this is really for ‘quality of life.’ We’ve already lived through this bullshitty nightmare (the stadium was suppose to pay for itself and NOW the truth comes out that it won’t), and we’re about to live through it again. lf you mayoral and/or city council wannabees want my vote it’s real simple… more tearing down buildings and no more building buildings because we don’t need it and can’t afford it. The only spending that l’ll approve of is to get these darn roads fixed. lf l wasn’t so damn lazy l’d run myself.

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