The Proposed Downtown Arena: Max Grossman Speaks Out on Sportstalk
Following Steve's column that suggested the proposed downtown arena be a soccer-specific stadium, UTEP Associate Professor and local historian Dr. Max Grossman joined Sportstalk on Wednesday afternoon to discuss his alternative point of view for the stadium, while fielding phone calls and questions from listeners.
And Dr. Grossman came prepared for the interview and his first appearance on Sportstalk.
"Doesn't give me pleasure, but it's something I have to do," Grossman said regarding his fight to preserve the community of Duranguito.
In the first segment, both Steve and Dr. Grossman went back and forth between the origins of the community, discussed which neighborhood came first—Duranguito or Chihuahuita—and Dr. Grossman explained why he and his fellow supporters believe the community should be preserved.
They both discussed Proposition 2, which was passed by voters in 2012. On one hand, Steve argued that the voters knew that sports and downtown were included in the proposition, but Dr. Grossman suggested that the ballot was misleading for voters in what he called a "bait and switch" tactic.
"So many laws were broken that we find ourselves in litigation now," Dr. Grossman said.
After undergoing mediation with the city last year, Dr. Grossman felt that both sides were going to reach a compromise after the sides proposed to move the arena two blocks north, which would only eliminate two of the 14 buildings in the Duranguito area. However, Dr. Grossman explained that the mediation fell through on the city's side.
Steve then explained that seven years was too long for this project to be dragged out and that the cost is only rising, no matter what they decide to do.
Dr. Grossman cited his main reason to continue to fight for the preservation of the community by saying, "we as a city can't afford this project." One idea was to possibly relocate the arena to another part of the city. He referenced the trolly's loss in revenue to this and opened it up to a series of questions by callers.
We fielded a wide variety of phone calls, from supporters of Dr. Grossman's movement to those that are in support of building a downtown arena. One caller restated that the ballot language did not mention downtown, therefore it should not be in the conversation. Another caller described some of the anti-arena supporters as being "bullies" to the other side. Some callers blamed the city's deliberation on the topic, while others directly blamed the anti-arena supporters for halting any progress in the arena.
Listen to the full interview here: