Improvements to east Amarillo

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) -  Potter County Commissioner Mercy Murguia gathered up a room full of Barrio residents from East Amarillo to announce some good news Thursday night.

This community is next on the city's list for the "Neighborhood Initiative"  -- a plan designed to focus on areas in Amarillo needing improvement.

"We absolutely have an interest to know that this is coming, know that we need to be prepping for this." said Murguia. "I think everybody in this city is really thirsty for improvements all across this city."

This plan started over a month ago, and kicked off with the Heights in North Amarillo. The city's planning director, Kelley Shaw, says they won't develop a plan for improvement for the Barrio community without input from the residents who live there.

"That's why it's so important that they participate because if we just threw together a plan that the city did, it's not going to work, just flat out won't work," said Shaw. "We want to know what these residents want their neighborhood to be like and then depending on that, we will establish some objectives, this is what it's like today, this is how you want it to be, how can we get there?"

Shaw says East Amarillo residents could start seeing some beautifying projects as early as June -- and just three months later, TxDOT plans to do some reconstruction to east I-40.

"The objective of the project is to replace the two bridges at Arthur and Ross, and while doing that we have to also replace and update all the associated work with those two bridges, which includes the approach roadway and the ramps that are in that project," said TxDOT's director of Transportation Planning and Development Gus Khankarli.

Khankarli advised these residents of the two year long construction being an inconvenience, but well worth it in the end.

"Most important things is safety to the traveling public," said Khankarli.

While all these new changes may take some time, many of the residents agree tonight's conversation was step in the right direction for change.

"This is a priority and not only do we allocate dollars, we allocate our time to be in this core committee and be able to speak to some of the details so that we can educate about what's coming," said Murguia.

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