El Paso City Council Votes Yes On Downtown El Paso Ballpark [OPINION]
The arrival of Triple A baseball has kind of been like the arrival of a baby. A lot of waiting for a while, then fast and furious action right at the end!
There have been whispers for a couple of years about a group of El Paso businessmen looking to bring affiliated Triple A baseball to the city, but that talk really hit a fever pitch just a couple of weeks ago with the announcement that a group headed by local millionaires Paul Foster and Josh Hunt were thisclose to acquiring a team. There were strings attached - a stadium needed to be built, and the longtime Diablos would have to leave the city because of a no-complete clause in the contract.
Today, Council voted 6-2, with City Reps. Carl Robinson and Eddie Holguin voting no, to build the ballpark on the site of the current City Hall.
There are a lot of people out there who want the ballpark in Northeast El Paso, or far East El Paso, but the reason why it is being put in downtown is because there is already infrastructure there. There is parking, there are clubs and restaurants up and running, and it would be another anchor for a vibrant downtown that would help attract business to the city.
When businesses look to relocate, they want their employees to have something to do - a good nightlife is key, as are family oriented activities. It would be nice if EPISD wasn't imploding at the moment, but hopefully, the district is working on that as well.
The loss of the Diablos is a blow. No one wants to see an old friend fade away, but it has been a long time since the team and the ballpark in the Northeast have been up to par, to mix sports metaphors. The no-compete clause, I thought, was probably part of the MLB structure, but we found out today at Council that it was put in place by Foster and Hunt. Read any contract and you'll find things in it that seem to favor one party over another - that's the way of business.
What we need to do now is make sure this project works for El Paso. We need to stop complaining about "nothing to do here", and complaining when something comes along that changes that. If you don't like baseball, then don't go. But not going because you're mad that the Diablos are gone is shooting the city in the foot.
Things change. Do you live in the same house that you did when you were growing up? Do you wear the same style clothes? Are you still driving the first car you ever owned? We move on, we upgrade, we, hopefully, improve. That's what this is. Do I like more taxes? No, I don't. But I also don't like spending my money in other cities to have fun.
Ok, let the bashing begin!