Proposed city park renovations would cost Amarillo millions

Proposed city park renovations would cost Amarillo millions
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A group of Amarillo residents will soon be asking the city council for tens of millions of dollars to renovate the city's parks.

The proposed city parks renovation project would update and build new facilities for several youth and club sports throughout Amarillo, with a price tag at $98,752,271.

The new facilities would include:

  • An aquatics center
  • 10 baseball fields
  • 4-8 multi-use youth soccer/football fields
  • 3 multi-use adult soccer/football fields
  • 12-24 indoor volleyball/basketball courts
  • 18 unlighted youth baseball/softball practice fields
  • 18 lighted youth baseball/softball practice fields
  • 8 youth girls fast pitch softball fields
  • 3 indoor tennis courts
  • 2 outdoor tennis courts
  • 2 youth red ball tennis courts
  • 2,850 parking spaces

A majority of these facilities - including the aquatics center, volleyball/basketball courts, and tennis courts - would be built in southwest Amarillo on and around John Stiff Memorial Park.

Additions and renovations will also be made to the Rick Klein Sports Complex, Carver Field, and the Southwest, Southeast and Martin Road Softball Complexes.

Former Amarillo ISD Superintendent Rod Schroder presented the plan Monday evening to the AISD School board.

He emphasized how more facilities could lead to more athletes, and more money from visitors who would come to town for competitions and tournaments.

"The conceptual plan is around $95 million and about one fourth of that would be raised by private funds," said Schroder. "There have been some pretty strong commitments by some private individuals, businesses and foundations to help support this."

He asked that AISD consider contributing about $8 million in funding.

The school board has the most interest in an aquatic center, since borrowing lanes from the Amarillo Town Club can no longer accommodate the growing program.

"People want to know, 'do you have good churches? Do you have good schools? Is it a safe community? Do you have constructive things to do for our children,'" said John Ben Blanchard, President of the AISD School Board. "Those constructive activities go beyond just the athletics we have within the school district and include [things like] Kids Inc and club volleyball."

But the city council has to pass the proposal first.

When asked if the city could afford this undertaking, City Council Member Elisha Demerson said "no" without hesitation.

The council would have to put the remaining $75 million that wouldn't be privately funded up for a bond election.

If passed, property taxes would increase by $61.05 per year for an average household.

"From an economic development standpoint, I'd like to know how [$75 million] that's going to go to one neighborhood vice of an almost $100 million proposal instead of let's just divide it up around the Amarillo community since economic development is needed in all areas of our community."

A proposal will be brought to the city council by the end of spring, and they can amend the proposal if they decide to carry it out to a bond election.

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