I am left to endorse a project without having an actual voice in assuring its approval.
The project to which I refer involves an extreme makeover of the Amarillo Civic Center, the renovation of a historic railroad depot across the street from the center and the relocation Amarillo’s City Hall to a suitable existing structure downtown.
But … I cannot vote on it when it comes to a vote. My hope is that the city doesn’t back down from a proposal it will consider.
The bill will be hefty, more than $300 million. The Civic Center needs more convention space and the Cal Farley Coliseum needs a serious upgrade to accommodate more than truck/tractor pulls, hockey and arena football; OK, the coliseum occasionally hosts a concert … but those who’ve been inside understand the need for a serious upgrade.
As for the City Hall relocation, I am a bit torn on this one. One of my social media friends wondered the other day whether the recently vacated Amarillo Globe-News building at Ninth Avenue and Harrison Street might work. I answered him with a “Maybe.” I don’t know how the square footage in the G-N building compares with the current City Hall.
I also remember something that a former Amarillo mayor once said to me about the municipal headquarters. He called it the “ugliest City Hall complex in the United States.” I have to agree that the exterior of the building is pretty damn ugly.
Here’s another potential hiccup: The stone Earth on the municipal complex. How would the city relocate that, if it needed to be relocated? It was a gift to the city from the Globe-News as part of its Celebrate 2000 commemoration back at the turn of the 21st century.
Well, the city is considering a bond issue that I believe it should present to voters in a single package. All or nothing, man! It’s worth doing, in my humble view.
The city might schedule the bond election in May 2020. That would work, too. At least one chronic sorehead has pitched the idea of having it on Presidential Election Day, in November of next year. It shouldn’t matter.
If the city is going to bring maximum public attention to this needed project, residents ought to respond with a hefty vote total.
My only regret is that I cannot cast a vote in favor of this project.
Amarillo would be poised to reap the benefit of a shiny new Civic Center. Let the debate commence.