AQHA needs more than signatures to stay in Amarillo

Here is what I have gleaned so far from news that Fort Worth might be making an effort to lure the American Quarter Horse Association Museum from Amarillo to Cow Town …

Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson has launched a petition drive to collect signatures from Texas Panhandle residents seeking to persuade the AQHA movers and shakers to stay put, to avoid relocating.

Fort Worth City Council has signed a 50-year lease agreement that well could result in the development of a site where the AQHA Museum, a fixture in Amarillo for 70 years, could be relocated.

The story apparently is causing a stir in Amarillo, which doesn’t want to lose the iconic institution, created in Amarillo to salute the ranching industry that has been so vital to the development of the Panhandle since the mid-19th century.

This is no great flash, but it is going to take a whole lot more than thousands of names attached to a petition to keep the AQHA anchored in the Panhandle. It will take some financial inducements, as in real American money. 

I don’t know what those inducements would include. I do know that the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation in the past has employed an aggressive strategy to lure businesses to the region in the name of job creation. It uses a portion of sales tax revenue it collects to help start-up businesses, or to lure big-time employers to the region. The Bell-Textron aircraft assembly operation and the Hilmar Cheese plant in Dallam County are two prime examples of the success enjoyed by AEDC’s strategy.

I don’t know if there is a provision in AEDC’s charter that allows such inducements that would apply to retaining an existing organization, or even if there is much actual job growth associated with such a plan.

All I am left to presume is that signatures on a petition carry the same tangible value as political leaders sending “thoughts and prayers” to victims of gun violence.

This effort to keep AQHA where it’s been for seven decades doesn’t look terribly promising.

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