Why Can’t The Downtown Arena Be Put At The Don Haskins Center? Here Are 5 Reasons It Should Be
There have been a lot of news stories written about the new downtown arena that was voted on as part of the Quality of Life bond back in 2012. When the plans for the arena were released, there was an uproar because many buildings that have stood in the footprint of the proposed arena have been around for 100 years, and many residents would be run out of their homes. Most of those residents cannot afford the move, and many will not be helped by the City of El Paso to move from their homes. So what other area of town would be a better fit for the arena? I think we are overlooking a perfect location.
The Don Haskins Center at UTEP would be the perfect fit for the arena, and here's why:
1. The Don is outdated - The Don Haskins Center has served its purpose for years now, but it is old and outdated and it's lack of amenities keeps it from hosting events like NCAA tournament basketball games. If there were suites, media meeting space, and better locker rooms for teams, it would make the Don more attractive to the NCAA, and bring a lot of attention to the city, as well.
2. Different Event Configurations - Staging a huge show sometimes isn't possible at the Don because of the layout. Word is some shows have passed up El Paso and the Don because they can't fit their staging into the layout of the Haskins Center. A more modern arena would allow multiple configuration possibilities.
3. UTEP and City of El Paso both benefit - The City is trying to attract conventions to the downtown area. The new streetcar line will run from downtown to Glory Road. The arena could draw people who are staying at downtown hotels, such as the about-to-be-renovated Camino Real, up to UTEP for events on the streetcars, and then take them back to their hotels again. Along the streetcar line, restaurants, shops, and other attractions would spring up. It would also help put heads in beds at the Hilton Garden Inn at UTEP during events, and those guests could take the streetcar to downtown events. UTEP and the City would benefit from having easy access to both areas of town, and it would be a huge selling point to conventions and tourists.
4. The arena would have an anchor tenant - As proposed, the downtown arena would have no anchor tenant. We would have to hope that they could fill enough dates to make it profitable. Put the arena at the Don and UTEP would play games there, the new updated arena could be used to help Coach Tim Floyd to recruit players with it's shiny, new venue, and the dates that UTEP plays there would help create a stable revenue stream.
5. The City wouldn't have to pay for land acquisition or move residents - The best part about moving the arena to the Don would be not having to move tenants from their homes, using money to buy land, or tear down part of El Paso's history. The City and UTEP could come to an agreement about the land that would be beneficial to both and the whole city would be better off.
We need the arena. We voted in the arena. Now we just need to make sure the arena is workable and favorable to all of El Paso, and that could happen if the City and UTEP work together on this.