I have repurposed this picture from my social media network and I now intend to use it to illustrate a point I think needs making.
Amarillo’s Sod Poodles, the minor-league baseball team that has opened to big crowds at Hodgetown, appear ready to lead the city where my wife and I used to live toward a new and bright future.
We have no regrets about moving away, but I damn sure wish at times I could be there to cheer the “Soddies” on.
I am hearing about a smattering of gripes from those who think the fireworks at the games are too loud. Residents are bitching about the money spent to build the ballpark and to inject new life into the downtown district.
The gripes are to be expected, I suppose. No project, regardless of its value, is deemed as picture-perfect to everyone affected directly or indirectly by it.
Sure, I live some distance away. Thus, I won’t likely hear these gripes in person; I’ll merely read about them on social media. I intend to remind those along my own social media network that the gripes are misplaced and likely misinformed.
The ballpark cost a good bit of dough: $45 million. The city spent more to condemn the Coca-Cola distribution center and relocate it to a business park near Rick Husband-Amarillo International Airport. There have been tax incentives and abatements given to businesses that have sprung up along Polk Street.
I am baffled, though, at the complaints that the city’s effort to spruce up its downtown district is misdirected.
It is not!
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Every flourishing city in America has at least one thing in common — a vibrant downtown business-and-entertainment district.
I am unable to predict whether Amarillo, Texas, will join the ranks of prosperous American cities. It remains my strong sense, though, that the city is on the way toward that future.
The Amarillo Sod Poodles’ presence in that shiny new sports venue can lead the way.