They’re supposed to start rolling the heavy equipment soon onto the site of Amarillo’s next big project.
The contractor will bring in the front-end loaders, the backhoes, the dump trucks … all of it.
Then they’ll get to work on the multipurpose event venue, which celebrated a ceremonial groundbreaking this week on the now-vacant lot across the street from City Hall.
Once they get started on the job, they’re going to face some immediate pressure. They’ve got to get the job done in about a year.
You see, they’re going to welcome a minor-league baseball team to Amarillo. The plan is to toss out the first pitch for the start of a AA season that begins in April 2019.
The MPEV will cost about $45 million. It will be paid with hotel occupancy tax and lease money provided by the Elmore Group, owners of the team that is relocating here from San Antonio.
I remain confident they’ll get the job done. My confidence, though, must carry a caveat.
It’s the weather, man.
We’re in a prolonged dry spell in the Texas Panhandle. Not only have not had any snow this winter, we haven’t had any measurable precipitation of any kind.
Can we depend on the weather cooperating with us? Hah! Not a chance, dude! As the saying goes: If you don’t like the weather, just wait 10 minutes …
The weather is likely to become a major determinant on whether the MPEV gets built on time.
I don’t intend to wish bad things with this blog post. I merely intend to forewarn us all that the weather quite possibly can toss a major roadblock in front of the construction crews that will have little room for error — manmade or nature made — as they proceed to get this first-class venue built.
Let’s remember, too, that even though this winter has been bone-dry — so far! — we cannot guarantee what the next winter will bring to the High Plains of Texas.
And, oh yes, we have the unpredictable and occasionally explosive spring season awaiting us just ahead.
Time won’t wait for the work to get done.
Here’s hoping for the very best.