By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
My friends and former neighbors in Amarillo have a big decision to make on Nov. 3.
They will have to decide whether to improve the Civic Center. From what I understand, plans call for a serious expansion of the convention space, the Cal Farley Coliseum, along with lots of cosmetic improvements throughout the complex.
What I am still trying to understand, though, is the supposed “relocation” of City Hall. I have not yet determined whether the city has found a site to relocate its government operations center, which at one time was supposed to be part of the entire bond issue. I do hope it does have a site. The city council recently agreed on a contract in the nearby warehouse district that could produce a location for City Hall. The city reportedly has decided to delay a decision on relocation until after the election. From what I have seen on a couple of news sites the council hasn’t yet made a firm decision on where it intends to place its government office.
As KFDA NewsChannel 10 has reported: Mayor Ginger Nelson says the continuous repairs to the current building and cost efficiency drove this decision. “Just seeing what our options were there, it was important to us to take an existing building,” said Nelson “We thought that was a better use of taxpayer dollars and there were some cost efficiency to be gained by refurbishing an existing building vs buying a brand-new building.”
The city is hoping to invest a couple hundred million dollars-plus of public money on the Civic Center. Getting it approved in this Pandemic Era well could be a tough sell.
A big part of me wishes the city well. The Civic Center needs work. Amarillo isn’t getting a lot of top-drawer entertainment acts, which end up venturing down the interstate to Lubbock where the spacious United Center awaits.
How would I vote? Probably “yes.” As for the City Hall relocation, the city should proceed with tremendous caution and care. That project all by itself is a huge deal.