AMARILLO, TEXAS - Downtown revitalization is one of the most controversial and arguably most misunderstood issues in Amarillo's May election.
Misunderstanding number one seems to be that millions of taxpayer dollars are being spent in the area. It's easy to understand the concern. There's almost constant talk around town of a new ball park, convention center hotel and a handful of other projects.
"Well there is a good bit that's being spent right now, but all by Wallace Bajili for the most part. They have taken a hundred percent of the risk," Melissa Daily of Downtown Amarillo Incorporated said.
That means the development company hired by the city will eat the costs of drawing up architecture plans if their proposals are not approved to go forward. But right now, millions of taxpayer money isn't being spent.
Misunderstanding two seems to be that all of these big ticket projects would have to be approved by voters first.
"Not necessarily, not all projects may go to a public vote," Daily said.
In fact, several of them might be funded in a way which doesn't raise taxes like grants from the federal and state governments. If taxes won't be raised, the project won't go to voters before becoming reality.
Multiple downtown groups want to help clear up some of this confusion also, so they will be hosting four public information/input meetings. For the location and times of those check out: http://www.downtownamarillo.com/