At the last City Council meeting, Reps. Svarzbein, Hernandez, Salcido, Rivera, and Lizarraga voted to prevent the public from learning the actual cost of the multipurpose basketball arena, obviously because the truth would be so deeply embarrassing to them.
David Crowder of the El Paso Inc published a report over the weekend titled “What will arena cost now? Council votes to not find out,” citing my public comments:
“The city claims it will build the multipurpose basketball arena for $180 million, or $12,000 per seat. However, the cheapest multipurpose basketball arena of comparable size built in the past five years is Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, costing more than $32,000 per seat. So, based on the comparables, the MPC would cost at least $482 million in 2019 dollars, not including the $23 million-plus already spent on bond interest, property acquisition and litigation. But, given the skyrocketing cost of construction materials and labor since the pandemic began, it is painfully obvious that the city’s project would cost well over $500 million. There has never been enough money for this boondoggle, and there never will be.”
No one in the City has ever disputed these facts.
So let’s get this straight.
The City disguised its planned “state of the art arena with a target capacity of 15,000 seats for basketball games” (stated as such on its RQF that went out to design firms) as a “multipurpose performing arts and entertainment facility” and then placed that under the 2012 ballot proposition titled “Museum, Cultural, Performing Arts, and Library Facilities.”
The City concealed the intended location of the “Arena” until October 13, 2016, when it announced it would use eminent domain to seize private property in Duranguito and then empowered itself to do so only five days later.
Now five City reps are concealing the cost of the project from the taxpayers who pay for their salaries and benefits.
The City of El Paso is the only municipality in the State of Texas where this kind of behavior is tolerated.