City of El Paso terminates Cohen Stadium lease early

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 9:18pm

El Paso City Council is saying farewell -- and so long -- to the El Paso Diablos. New locks were placed on Cohen stadium Wednesday -- 24 hours after the city decided to terminate its lease with the El Paso professional baseball team.

City employees told our crew they were instructed not to let anyone inside the stadium and that was also true for a motorcycle class who said they were kicked out of the stadium.

The Motorcycle Training Center Class takes their frustration out in a parking lot near Cohen Stadium. "All of a sudden we couldn't get back in the building and said that the city had taken over Cohen Stadium,” Steve Cantrelle, Rider and Instructor for the group said. The center's coach said they were conducting class as usual inside the stadium, when guards showed up and kicked them out. "And we're just not able to be here anymore."

The City of El Paso decided to end its lease Tuesday with the former ownership group of the El Paso Professional Baseball team. "We're moving forward to try and lease and then move forward on trying, you know, on doing something with the Cohen stadium,” Mayor Oscar Leeser

But that something is a big question mark. Last year the city had considered a proposal to build a water park on the property but that idea stalled.

The Eiablos ownership group now has 10 days to vacate the property and pay nearly $147,000 in overdue electricity bills. "There's some debt and some stuff that's on there and council is, you know, looking into be able to upgrade that area,” Leeser added.

The lease was supposed end in April 2016, with the early lease termination, groups like the motorcycle training club are left by the wayside.

"We're essentially out of business until something is figured out,” Cantrelle said. And the Mayor and El Pasoans are left wondering what will happen within the stadium's walls. "It's a shame, I mean what are they going to do with this place? You know, it's going to become another abandoned building in El Paso, seems like."

We also reached out to the owner of the El Paso Baseball group, Matt LeBranche, he simply told us, ‘No Comment.’ The Tiguas, who used to own a portion of the group said they sold their shares back to El Paso Baseball Group.

We've attached the letters from the City of El Paso to LeBranche's group in this story.

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