Bones and money get in the way?

Amarillo city commissioners are taking a hard look at turning a trash-strewn playa lake into a park.

Good luck with that one.

It’s T-Anchor Lake. Its condition has become a sore point with neighbors near the lake, which is next to the American Quarter Horse Museum and office complex.

The word now is that it’s going to cost as much as $11 million to turn the lake into a usable park. Commissioners have been taking considerable grief over the condition of the property. They’ve been accused of ignoring the lake while pouring its effort into park projects in other parts of the city.

But 11 million bucks is a lot of money, especially for a city government that prides itself on its remarkably light debt load. It must determine whether the city will gain a reasonable return on that investment.

Let’s add another complication: bones. Archaelogists have found skeletal remains on the site. Determining their origin could delay park development. Are there more of them? If so, what are their significance?

It reminds me a little of the construction in Athens, Greece, of a new subway system prior to the 2004 Olympics. Engineers were anxious to keep blasting their way under the city, only to be stymied every time they found antiquities dating back to the Age of Pericles. Archaelogists put a halt to to the construction, making the engineers very, very angry. They wanted to excavate the ruins carefully, making sure they were preserved properly for display. The subway got built eventually, and it’s a thing of beauty. It even has kiosks along its route displaying the ruins found during the subway’s construction.

Might a similar situation develop right here over a playa lake?

Stay tuned.

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