Too many people? Nice problem to have for downtown

I hear they had a nice time in downtown Amarillo this weekend.

There was that annual Route 66 festival; they had a community market near the Chamber of Commerce building; and they had the annual Fourth of July fireworks show that was moved from John Stiff Memorial Park into the downtown district.

Lots of people. Lots of traffic. Presumably a headache or two.

What a nice problem to have for the downtown business and entertainment district.

Does this portend a brighter, livelier and more bustling future for the city’s central district? One can hope.

I’ve been to downtown events before. The annual Chamber of Commerce barbecue always has been a load of fun. The Center City block party has provided a good share of music as well.

I thought a little this weekend about how downtown can continue to prosper and, as a result, how the rest of the city can glean benefit from the kinds of activity that took place this weekend.

My wife and I just returned from a three-week road trip that took us through Memphis and Nashville, Tenn., on to Washington, D.C. It was in Nashville and then the nation’s capital where we saw just how choked it can get, where cities can perhaps overbook events in a restricted area.

I’m thinking of what we saw in Nashville, where we spent some time encamped at an RV park just north of the city.

Nashville played host to two big events simultaneously the week we were there. One was a country music awards festival downtown, along the banks of the Cumberland River. We ventured into the city with some friends with whom we rendezvoused in Nashville. Understand, it was a weekday afternoon, middle of the week. The downtown district was packed to the hilt.

The second big event would occur that weekend; my wife and I departed Nashville beforehand. The sixth game of the Stanley Cup hockey finals series was played at the Nashville Predators arena — also downtown! I’m trying to imagine how the city was able to accommodate those two events simultaneously. Local news broadcasts wondered aloud how the city would manage as well.

Last I heard, Nashville was still standing.

I know that Amarillo is no Nashville. However, I continue to wish the best for Amarillo as it embarks on a new downtown-centered journey. They’re going to start work in early 2018 on that downtown ballpark/multipurpose event venue; they opened that long-awaited parking garage this weekend; that new downtown hotel is going to open soon; the Civic Center is booking conventions like crazy, according to one of my pals at the Convention and Visitors Council.

Where will the city put everyone when they have multiple events occurring at the same time? I have no idea. I’m quite sure the city will figure it out. Hey, they can call their colleagues in Nashville for plenty of advice.

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