Advance Amarillo rallies support for downtown projects

Advance Amarillo rallies support for downtown projects

Amarillo, TX - A new group in Amarillo is coming forward to rally support for a project many in the community say they are against.

The Multi-Purpose Event Venue (MPEV), more commonly referred to as the ballpark, is receiving a lot of criticism recently, especially on social media. That is why a new group called Advance Amarillo is now fighting back on Facebook and in public against the negativity.

Austin Sharp is a member of Advance Amarillo and is pushing for the MPEV and the rest of the downtown plan to proceed. "We're a group of people that have come together to bring the community together to rally support behind a plan we feel will bring new life into the city and serve as an economic multiplier for many years to come," explained Sharp.

The group created a Facebook page last week that already has more than 1,600 'likes' as of Thursday. Advance Amarillo also started an online petition to show support for the current redevelopment plan. That petition has more than 1,100 signatures.

"In just a short time, we're seeing a significant amount of support for these projects," said Sharp. "In all honesty, I would say we are the silent majority."

The group aims to change supportive silence into a loud voice the Amarillo City Council will listen to. "We will make our presence known and felt at city council meetings from here on out," said Sharp.

Members also want to clear up misinformation circulating in the community that taxpayers will fund the projects, especially the MPEV. "The majority of this project is funded through the hotel occupancy tax, so it is really no cost to taxpayers, which is great."

Projects not funded by people staying at Amarillo hotels are privately funded by investors who have openly voiced concern if the MPEV is not built. "The hotel developer said yesterday that basically if we drag our feet on this too much longer or we vote the project down, he is going to walk away," said Sharp. "That is a significant revenue source that our city will be missing out on. I would hate to see that loss for our city. That is a big deal."

Advance Amarillo made their first public appearance as a group Wednesday during the city's all-day special meeting to discuss downtown development.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10