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      Kids, Inc. wants out

      Amarillo's City Commission yesterday was certainly anticipating a huge debate over the city funding a new downtown multi-purpose rec. center, that the city would own, but Kids Inc would operate.

      But before it could develop, Kids Inc President Jimmy Lackey dropped a bombshell,

      Lackey made the announcement that Kids Inc was withdrawing its proposal.

      "I would respectfully ask this commission to accept our formal request to withdraw our response to REP03-11 submitted on Febuary 22, 2011."

      But why, after going through all the paperwork, and getting the concept approved by the city commission, would Kids Inc choose to pull out?

      "We're not in the business of politics and we were being thrown around like a political pawn. At this point in time it just had to be put to a stop and it's an issue I think has merit and if the commission chooses somewhere down the line to put it before the voters, our board and our staff felt this was the best way to do it."

      Lackey said the issue was becoming something for this year's candidates to use as a political tool, and that's not what Kids Inc is about.

      "Just know that for the rest of this election season, pending the approval of this commission, you now have one less issue to argue about."

      The commission went along with Lackey's request, but none seemed to happy about it.

      "I think it was a deal made in heaven. I'm disappointed that it was stopped and rejected in essence at this point," said Jim Simms, City Commissioner Place Four. "Those that were so opposed to it, because it was going to be a slight, ever so slight increase in their taxes, I mean $100,000 home, six bucks. They'll spill more than that in the next 30 days. I just have a problem with that and I wish we could have proceeded with it."

      Also at the meeting the proposal to build a new apartment complex near Coulter Street was denied after the pleading from concerned citizens was effectively heard.

      Pronews 7 Staff Reports In one of the more controversial topics of the year, Kids, Inc. requested to withdraw its offer to join with the city to build a new downtown recreation center.

      Jimmy Lackey, President of Kids Inc., Amarillo, withdrew the offer Tuesday afternoon to a packed meeting.Last month, Commissioners began considering more than $6 million in certificates of obligation to build a new downtown recreation center, joining with Kids Inc., which agreed to kick in about $2 million toward the project. They would then house and maintain the city's property at no cost to Amarillo taxpayers.

      Since then, concerned citizens groups have come forward saying the commission shouldn't be spending taxpayer money for non-essentials.

      "We're not in the business of politics and we were being thrown around like a political pawn at this point in time," Lackey said. "It just had to be put to a stop and it's an issue I think has merit and if the Commission chooses somewhere down the line to put it before the voters, our board and our staff felt this was the best way to do it."

      Lackey added this decision was made in the best interest of Kids, Inc. and the children it attends to.

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