AMARILLO, Texas (KVII) — The Texas Main Street Program (TMSP) of the Texas Historical Commission recently recognized Center City of Amarillo for its efforts in revitalizing downtown Amarillo. Since 2007, the private non-profit has documented $345 million in re-investments designed at improving the quality of life.
“People realize that downtown is a big business opportunity to reinvest and every new business brings more people downtown, making it more of a destination,” said Beth Duke, executive director of Center City of Amarillo. “The $345 million includes projects such as the Courtyard by Marriott in the historic Fisk Building. The new Embassy Suites Hotel across from the Amarillo Civic Center."
“We have fewer vacant buildings, even the Barfield Building at Sixth and Polk, a landmark skyscraper, is getting a new life as it will be an autographed hotel by Marriott.”
Center City of Amarillo worked on a 10-year plan approved the Amarillo City Council in 2008. Duke tells ABC 7 News the focus on a new 10-year plan is on improving housing opportunities in the downtown.
“We want downtown to have more downtown residences on all levels for the economy,” said Duke. “We think if we have more residences that will lead to a grocery store and other services that we don’t have in downtown right now.”
New residential and business opportunities are to the east between the MPEV and railroad and to the west of Tyler Street behind the new West Texas A&M University campus.
“We just try to keep people thinking of downtown as a great place to come to eat, to play, to learn and to worship,” said Duke. “We think downtown can be a vibrant place as we make it more and more a destination.”
Duke tells ABC 7 News there are more opportunities for businesses along Polk Street and other downtown streets that desire a ground floor or elevated setting as bars and restaurants are seeking to capitalize on sunsets and skylines.
Center City of Amarillo is one of 68 Main Street programs to be recommended for national accreditation.