Downtown flea market vendors on edge as arena moves forward

El Tiradero flea market vendors are worried about the flea market being demolished to make way for the downtown arena. (CBS4/KFOX14)

A final decision by the city has many vendors in downtown El Paso worried about their livelihood.

The city has officially announced the designated area for the new multipurpose and cultural and performing arts center. The area includes the downtown Tiradero Mercado flea market on the corner of Paisano Drive and Chihuahua Street. The building hosts about 70 merchants who live off of their sales.

"We're really worried, not just for ourselves but for everyone because they all have their clients," said vendor Maria Avila.

The entire plan for the multipurpose center stands within San Antonio Avenue, South Santa Fe Street, West Paisano Drive and Leon Street. There are a total of 22 properties within the footprint. The city owns two of them. Seven lots are commercial, seven residential, and there are some vacant lots.

At the flea market, many sellers were surprised by the news.

"We are a bit sad because we've worked hard for this," said vendor Margarita Torres. "Really, it's quite sad that they don't take us into account, as people who have a right to reach a better life."

City representatives said they have willing property sellers for all but one lot.

There will be relocation plans implemented for all tenants of residential or commercial property once the land is purchased.

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