“SHALL the City Council of the City of Amarillo, Texas, be authorized to issue general obligation bonds of the City in the principal amount of $83,430,000 for permanent public improvements and public purposes, to wit: constructing, improving, expanding, renovating and equipping civic center facilities and the acquisition of land therefor; such bonds to mature serially or otherwise over a period not to exceed twenty-five (25) years from their date, to be issued and sold in one or more series at any price or prices and to bear interest at any rate or rates (fixed, floating, variable or otherwise) as shall be determined within the discretion of the City Council at the time of issuance or sale of the bonds; and whether ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon all taxable property in the City sufficient to pay the annual interest and provide a sinking fund to pay the bonds at maturity?”
* Proposition 5 on the Nov. 8 Amarillo municipal ballot
That might be the longest sentence ever written in English. Ever!
But it speaks directly to an issue that has been on the top of Amarillo residents’ minds ever since, oh, we began talking about building the multipurpose event venue across the street from City Hall.
Amarillo City Council has put forward seven ballot propositions. This one, No. 5, deals directly with the Civic Center.
This is the first in a series of blog posts — as I promised earlier — commenting on the propositions coming to us this November.
The city asks residents to spend $83 million and change to improve, rehabilitate and “expand” the Civic Center.
Those who objected to the MPEV said the Civic Center ought to be a higher priority for the city than building a new ballpark. They cited the city’s lack of convention meeting space. Meanwhile, pro-MPEV forces argued that the new venue would be a great attraction for people to venture downtown for an evening of entertainment — which doesn’t argue directly against Civic Center improvements.
The Civic Center is a decent venue for conventions. Sure, it could stand some improvements. The Cal Farley Coliseum isn’t exactly a first-rate sports venue. It’s cramped, with limited seating for hockey and indoor football, although fairness requires me to say that neither the hockey team or the football team play to many sellout crowds during their respective seasons.
Still, an $83 million price tag would seem to do quite a bit for the Civic Center, which has been standing along Buchanan Street since the late 1960s.
Here’s our chance, then, to improve this venue to make it an even better draw for convention business.
Hey, we’ve got that five-star Embassy Suites hotel going up across the street. The folks staying there ought to be able to do their business in a first-cabin convention center as well.