Downtown Amarillo to continue improvements

by Larry Lemmons
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - The revitalization of downtown Amarillo is continuing full speed with a new focus.

Non-profit, Downtown Amarillo, Inc.'s new executive director presented her urban design vision to the Amarillo City Commission Tuesday

Melissa Dailey comes from Ft. Worth where she did the same job, making the downtown pedestrian friendly.  The idea is to create an environment where people like to hang out, live and spend time and money.

She says, "You come downtown, you park your car and you walk to multiple places downtown. And that way it's different from other parts of the city and you need to make sure it's there and it's walkable."

Dailey says utilities should be underground. More trees provide shade and protection from traffic. Storefronts provide interest. Polk Street is a good example of what can be applied more widely in downtown.  "You want people to come downtown to the Globe News Center, to the Civic Center, those activities, to be able to walk to the Polk Street area to have dinner, shop, that sort of thing."

Beth Duke, Executive Director of Center City says, "We know when people come here to recruit and retain businesses they drive through downtown and find out if it is lively, if it has places to live, places to play, places to eat, places to work, so we're trying to make our downtown a place where everyone can come and find something to fit their needs."

The changes won't happen overnight, but, given the current philosophy of city leaders, change is on its way.  Both organizations emphasize the fact that the new Marriot at the Fisk Building will change everything, making the area operate 24-7.