Downtown Redevelopment: Phase one, complete

Hundreds flocked to City Hall this afternoon to hear what Amarillo City Commissioners would decide regarding the Downtown Revitalization projects.

After many voiced their opinions one by one, the commission voted on one of the most important agenda items in its history.

Commissioners praised some citizens and questioned the statements of others, but when the smoke cleared, they passed a resolution approving the projects five-zero, unanimously.

Mayor Paul Harpole and his fellow commissioners sat back as citizens exercised their first amendment rights talking about the idea of redevelopment downtown.

Harpole says he heard some great comments from both sides, but there were also some misunderstandings that he felt needed to be cleared up.

"We are not, for these three projects, raising property tax one penny, they stand on their own. Their funding actually comes through hot tax and other monies and most through private investment."

By passing this item, officials say the city will not only see change downtown, and a bevy of new jobs should also be coming in.

"We will gain over 1,000 jobs with these three projects, we will grow our community in quality of life and it would just be an extremely forward taking measure for our citizens to participate in this."

David Wallace of Wallace Bajjali echoed that belief.

"Anytime you can have an opportunity to bring in over $100 million in fresh capital into a downtown, anytime you've got the ability to create over 1,000 jobs in a downtown and anytime you can execute on a vision that is a long standing vision of almost 30 years of the citizenry of amarillo, that is a good day."

The next step, Wallace says, is going to be the fun part.

H e says construction drawings will begin now.

T hey will work with architects and land planners before any construction begins , which Wallace expects will happen in the second quarter of next year.