T hanks to sponsorship from Amarillo National Bank, Center City kicked off their 18th Annual Block Party one street north of its usual location.
"T hey give us basically the seed money to help us get our party goin g, and t hat gave us two great opportunities ," said Center City's Beth Duke. "O ne great opportunity was the Amarillo National Bank parking lot where we had out first ever Car Show and Shine, and the other opportunity we had was to light the new Amarillo National Bank sign on Polk."
Duke said the change was also related to geography. She said concerns from local businesses over access to 7th Avenue also prompted the move. Some downtown businesses said they heard otherwise.
"I was told directly from Beth Duke that the reason they moved it was they were upset that some of the people that own businesses on the 700 and 800 block we're selling their product a dollar cheaper than they were," said Bodega's Owner Oscar Gamboa. He said he was disappointed in the decision.
"I t's a great way to promote your business. There are some new businesses down here that are really struggling and I think they could have really used the push that Center City could have provided."
Neighboring businesses on Polk seemed to agree.
"A ny time you can have a captive audience of 8,000 plus people, if you can get just 10% of that, it's really nice because you ' re go ing to get exposed to a lot of people that have never been in before ," said Burger Bar Owner Matt Prickett.
B urger B ar was one of the only downtown businesses included in the party . Prickett said it made a difference.
"I n years past we've been at the very end of the part y, but this year we we're more towards the front of it," said Prickett. "I'm still tallying up final numbers, but I'd say we're 15 to 20% up from last year."
Gamboa said all he wants is a fair shot at next year's event.
"I wish we just had the support of C enter City, that's what the organization is suppose to do, not help who they want to help or whoever has the deepest pockets," said Gamboa.