Amarillo has a ‘walking problem’

A retired college administrator manages routinely to put pressing public matters into their proper perspective.

Take it away, former Amarillo College President Paul Matney.

Matney is an avid supporter of the downtown Amarillo ballpark/multipurpose event venue. He spoke eloquently and passionately about it leading up to the November 2015 non-binding referendum in which voters approved its construction.

He took note Wednesday morning of the $45 million ballpark’s construction, which is scheduled to commence early in 2018, while discussing some issues at a focus group session involving potential activities for older Amarillo residents.

Matney knows a thing or two about parking, given his many years affiliated with AC, where parking — particularly at its main campus on Washington Street — has been a chronic issue for students over many years.

He spoke of public concerns stated about downtown parking once the MPEV is built. He took particular note of the 750-space parking garage that’s being completed on Buchanan Street across from where the MPEV will be erected. He also noted that downtown Amarillo has more than 2,000 parking spaces within three blocks of the MPEV. He didn’t mention the on-site parking that will be available once the MPEV is built … so I’ll do it here.

Matney then quoted one of his AC presidential predecessors, who once said, according to Matney, that “Amarillo doesn’t have a parking problem; it has a walking problem.”

Bingo! Ba-da-boom!

You got it, Mr. President!

The MPEV will continue to have its critics. I understand their concern, even though I fear they aren’t looking at the bigger picture. They look at potholes in the street wonder why the city won’t fix them when it is devoting so much attention to the MPEV and other downtown projects. It’s kind of an apples-oranges deal.

I do believe, though, that the pro-MPEV contingent of business, civic and political leaders need to keep Paul Matney’s phone number on their speed-dial. When questions arise about the MPEV, just call him and ask him for his take on them.

He’ll set anyone straight.

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