City hears from the young and, until now, the silent

downtown amarillo

Amarillo City Council members got a snootful this week from some of their constituents.

No, it wasn’t the usual gaggle of naysayers who keep harping on why Amarillo can’t do this or that.

The pleas instead came from a handful of young people interested in seeing the city redevelop its downtown district into a place that would attract them, make them want to come back here or perhaps to stay and start their lives.

The open meeting at City Council Chambers featured a number of folks who support the concept that’s been developed for downtown’s rebirth — assuming, of course, that it’s allowed to come into this world.

They like the idea of a multipurpose event venue, the MPEV. They like the notion of redeveloping Polk Street, turning it into an entertainment district. They like the idea of a downtown convention hotel which, quite naturally, will require additional parking.

They didn’t speak to council members Tuesday about the nuts and bolts of funding. They spoke instead of the concept.

I’m not a young person. I do agree, though, with our young residents.

Some other, older residents, said they disapprove of what’s being promoted. While the young folks like the idea of emulating, say, Austin, at least one other said the city should retain its current flavor, its ambience and whatever else it currently boasts.

Well, so much for “thinking outside the box” for some folks.

Me? I’m willing to take a chance on turning Amarillo into something more than a tad more vibrant than it has been.

I’ve been helping produce a weekly newspaper in Tucumcari, the Quay County Sun. I just finished editing some stories that told of that community’s weekend festival, called Rockabilly on the Route — that would be Route 66, which runs through Tucumcari, just as it runs through the heart of Amarillo.

Isn’t there an opportunity for Amarillo, with its own Route 66 heritage and its own arts and music community, to capitalize in such a manner? Sixth Avenue runs right through the city’s central district, connecting with Historic Route 66 west of the central district.

How about not letting such an opportunity slip through our fingers?

That, I believe, is what the young people said they want for their city.

I’m glad they spoke out. I now hope the council members heard them.



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