The Bowie High School Graduation Center, AKA "Downtown Arena" has really pissed off a ton of people. The history people are mad. The penny pinchers are mad. Supporters of the scarcely used existing venues are mad. The Anti-eminent domain crowd are mad. The people who want improved parks in their neighborhood are mad. And I'm sure I 'm missing a few more groups.
Council was smart to not give much warning on where they were planning on putting this thing. Give people time enough to think about it and they'll want to have their say in it. It's better to spring it on them and go right to a vote so the members of council can plausibly say "I heard no negative feedback before the vote was taken." It took a while, but this council is finally learning how to push things through without anyone getting to damaged in the process.
We'll have to see how this plays out in the next election (May). You have a ton of people angered by this and they are the kind of folks who can make these local elections a nightmare. One pissed off local amateur historian with a big email list can sink a candidate's chances of local political glory and $28 grand a year. With the Shapleigh Camper's politic stock waning, sub groups like the one I describe here gain importance. Vote to knock down a building Billy The Kid once pooped in and you might not be reelected. That's the political reality you're living in right now.
I personally don't care if you put the damn thing downtown, on top of my parent's house or in Tornillo - just tell me what/who is going to use the building and pay the bills to maintain it. Nobody seems to be able to answer that. You can't "build it and they will come." That was a movie plot line, not an economic development plan.
I know what you are going to say - "but, but, but, but THE BALLPARK!" With the ballpark it was made very clear what activities would be scheduled. Even if the team sale was contingent on building a new ballpark, I at least knew that there was a purpose.
All is not lost here. It was about time somebody built something nice for those kids down there at Bowie. Maybe they'll shut up about that baseball team from the 1820s now.