I’m looking ahead to the new year and I cannot help but think good thoughts about what lies in store for the city my wife and I called home for more than two decades.
Amarillo, Texas, appears to be on the move. I mean, think about some developments.
- Downtown Amarillo’s progress continues at full throttle. A couple of new “boutique hotels” might be opening for business in the coming year. One, for sure, will start welcoming guests at what used to be called the Barfield Building. It once was a rathole. It has become something quite different. There might be some movement in the Rule Building nearby. I’ll have to wait before assessing that structure’s future. It looks somewhat promising.
- Amarillo’s minor-league baseball team played before a packed Hodgetown house in 2019. The Sod Poodles won the Texas League championship. They’ll be returning in 2020 as the defending champs. Hodgetown has been honored as the nation’s top AA ballpark; the Sod Poodles have been recognized as the top AA baseball organization in the country. They have built a solid foundation in Amarillo.
- Construction will proceed on the new Texas Tech University School of Veterinary Medicine near the Tech medical school campus in Amarillo. This will be only the second vet school in Texas and will serve a growing demand for large-animal veterinary care in a region that relies on livestock.
- West Texas A&M University’s downtown Amarillo campus will bring even more energy to the center of the city.
- City Hall is looking to renovate the Civic Center, re-do the Santa Fe Railroad Depot building and relocate its municipal offices somewhere in downtown Amarillo. A big caveat remains on the final item: The city must identify a location and reveal it to the public well before it asks for residents’ endorsement of a $300 million bond issue.
- Interstate 40 and 27 reconstruction hopefully will draw much nearer to completion in the coming year. I don’t get back to Amarillo all that often these days, but I am hoping to see some tangible progress toward an end date for that massive I-40 project.
The city’s future — to my way of thinking — looks a lot brighter today than it did 10 to 12 years ago. It’s progress, man. A city that isn’t progressing remains stagnant. Keep moving forward, Amarillo.