Plans to Demolish City Hall In Federal Judge's Hands

Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 12:11am

A federal judge will decide whether to stop plans to demolish city hall to make room for a Triple-A baseball park. El Paso City Hall is scheduled to be demolished in March. Those plans are being contested by a former mayor and two other El Pasoans.

Former Mayor Ray Salazar and two other plaintiffs are suing the city, Mayor Cook, Joyce Wilson, the city reps that voted for the demolition and MountainStar Sports Group.

The group wants the judge to delay the demolition and the item to be put on the ballot in the general election in May.

Salazar was one of several people who took the stand in court Friday.

He was mayor when city hall was built back in 1977.

Salazar said the demolition and ballpark will cost citizens hundreds of millions of dollars.

"What they're saying is that the people that we put in charge, that we voted for can take away our rights to vote. Those people are suppose to take care of the assets of the city of El Paso... they're suppose to guard them, not destroy them and that's what they're doing," said Ray Salazar.

The city and MountainStar Sports Group officials said all the contracts have been signed and both stand to lose nearly half-million dollars in a year if the 2014 season is not held.

The city clerk is currently working to validate signatures on a petition against the demolition that was submitted to the city last month.

The city argued the judge does not need to issue an injunction until after those signatures are authenticated.

If those signatures are verified, the city would have to put it on the May ballot.

The plaintiffs said they want to stop the city from spending money on preparing for demolition in March.

District Judge David Guaderrama has asked the plaintiff’s attorney, Fernando Chacon to give him a briefing on the language on the petition on Wednesday.

It's unclear when the judge will make a decision.

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