Amarillo, TX - A voice not often heard when speaking about Amarillo's downtown projects is becoming louder.
Many supporters of the convention center hotel, parking garage and multi-purpose event venue (MPEV) often say if they are not built, Amarillo's young population will move on to bigger cities. For the first time, many from that young population are speaking up for themselves and they are calling it the Amarillo Millennial Movement.
With a new city council, the three downtown catalyst projects are on the line. Many supporters and opponents have come forward during recent city council meetings. In the mix, is a new, much younger voice -- a voice Lily Gamble and Meghan Riddlespurger are gathering and promoting.
"A few of us got interested in the downtown development project," said Meghan Riddlespurger, a co-founder of the Amarillo Millennial Movement. "We started speaking out, going to city council meetings and just voicing our support for it. We were shut down pretty badly for it, especially on Facebook by naysayers in the town, mainly because of our age."
In response to criticism, the two launched a Facebook page that now has more than 1,000 likes. They started a video campaign to give millennials an outlet to express why downtown development is important to them. Monday, they hosted their first official meeting to spread the word with about 20 people in attendance.
"Our main focus, purpose and goal is to just reach the new councilmen and show them that this is a great project," explained Lily Gamble, the other co-founder of the movement. "We really want to emphasize that the MPEV and the catalyst projects need to move on and need to be built for us, for the millennials and for the next generation to come after us."
"It will create jobs," added Riddlespurger. "It will create more economic opportunities for all of us. So it will keep millennials here rather than all of us feeling like we need to leave."
Riddlespurger and Gamble said the voices of the Amarillo Millennial Movement are growing and will become louder at future city council meetings. "So many young people are starting to see this movement catch on and they see it as an opportunity to get involved," said Riddlespurger. "We're finally starting to show up in droves, so the proof is in the pudding. We're here."
For more information on how to get involved with their movement, click here.