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County, amusement park ties to end

El Paso Times

Original Article »

June 04, 2007

After more than two months of postponement and years of disagreements, the county and Western Playland could finally end their relationship at today's Commissioners Court meeting.

At the court's May 21 meeting, commissioners considered a request from County Judge Anthony Cobos to buy several structures from Western Playland that were left at the park's old location at Ascarate Park, including a stage, warehouse, concession stands and an office building. Cobos wanted to buy all the appraised structures for $220,000, or half of their appraised value.

Commissioners questioned the need to buy all the structures and will vote today on each item individually.

"There didn't seem to be a consensus that any of us except the judge wanted to pay (park owner Pat) Mr. Thomson for any of it," Commissioner Veronica Escobar said.

She said she would be willing to accept one or two structures, such as the office building, but does not want the county to pay for them.

Commissioner Luis Sariņana asked Thomson at the May 21 meeting why he would charge the county for some of the structures when Thomson planned to give them away to others if the county chose not to buy.

"The county has never been fair to me. The county has stabbed me in the back at every opportunity," Thomson said at the May 21 meeting.

Thomson moved Western Playland into a new location in Sunland Park, last summer after several disagreements with Commissioners Court.

"My stance has always been that that area needs to be vacated and cleaned up by Mr. Thomson so we can move as fast as we can to find some other amenity to put in its place," Escobar said.

"If we're going to pay for something I'd rather pay for something brand new that comes with a warranty ... and not a leftover," she said.

Commissioners Court will also discuss today whether to award $65,000 from hotel occupancy tax funds to the Amigo Airsho for regional advertising for its September event.

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