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Fate of Union Plaza neighborhood to be decided in Austin next week

Fate of Union Plaza neighborhood to be decided in Austin next week

The Union Plaza block designated for the downtown arena looks very different these days.

The flea market is empty and gated off. Homes are boarded up and there aren’t many people left in the neighborhood.

“It’s a disaster now,” Hector Franco said. “There are a lot of people I have talked to that used to live here and I don’t know why they did so much throwing down and moving.”

Franco is one of the few people still living in the area where the city wants to build the arena.

It’s an issue that will be taken up in front of a judge in Austin next week.

Some people want the neighborhood to get a second chance.

“The arena feels like more of a corporate space and sort of a displacement in a bad way. Gentrification gone wild,” said Victora Kositz of downtown El Paso.

Others are rooting for the arena.

“I think it’s the city itself that needs to grow to bring more visitors,” another El Pasoan said.

Franco said those who are against the arena being built in the historic neighborhood still have hope. “I hope that the judge will do the right thing. Decide that the people here don’t need it.”

The hearing will determine whether the city gets to move forward with its plans or not.

KFOX14’s Ryan Hill will be in Austin Monday and Tuesday for the ruling.

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