The late Jim Simms now has his name on a public building.
It’s called the Jim Simms Municipal Building, named in his memory by the Amarillo City Council, which broke with tradition in honoring someone who gave so much of his time and energy to improving the city he loved.
The decision is prudent in another regard. Simms’s death the other day at age 73 means his legacy is now complete. There will be no chance of his messing it up with a big mistake.
Occasionally public entities make the mistake of honoring living individuals, only to have them embarrass themselves and the institution that honored them.
Universities are known to put themselves into that kind of bind on occasion. West Texas A&M University once honored T. Boone Pickens — who’s very much alive — by putting his name on a building at the College of Business, only to pull it down over a misunderstanding that involved a financial commitment Pickens had made to the university.
Amarillo’s building naming policy doesn’t allow for that kind of thing to happen.
As far as I know, the only other city-owned structure bearing an individual’s name is the international airport, which is known as Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport — named after the Amarillo native who commanded the shuttle Columbia on that tragic mission in early 2003. Husband and his six crewmates died when Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry.
I’m glad to see Simms’s memory honored in this manner.
He loved this city. Simms poured his soul into any project he undertook. The city has done right by honoring him in this fashion.