City of Amarillo leaders unveil Civic Center renovation plans

Plan could cost up to $319 million

Video - Civic Center Plan

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - City of Amarillo leaders rolled out a concept today to address needs for the Civic Center with an emphasis on the word concept.

There will be an initial four public meetings to get input on the suggestions that could cost up to $319 million. The plan includes major renovations to the existing facility, making the Santa Fe Depot part of the public space, adding another parking garage and moving City Hall to an existing building and replacing it with a park.

A major component would be building a 10,000-seat coliseum to hold events that have outgrown the existing one or just never come because there’s not enough space for them to set up. City leaders said other benefits would include more hotel tax collected from visitors to the added events.

Leman Wall with the working Ranch Cowboys Association said his group’s ranch rodeo uses all the existing space and needs more room to grow.

“We’re not looking to leave Amarillo,” he said.

The city will collect public input from the meetings and a website at www.conversationconventioncenter.com before finalizing plans and costs, according to Assistant City Manager Kevin Starbuck. The website includes details and illustrations in addition to a survey.

If the bond issue passed, it would increase property taxes by $12.57 per month for a home with $100,000 taxable value, Starbuck said.

A committee of residents has looked at the city’s needs assessment and has been advising the leadership. They’ve found the changes would increase the quality of life in addition to the economic benefits.

“We’re losing some of our best and brightest,” said David Lovejoy, a committee member.

Outside firms and city staff have been working on the assessment and concepts for at least eight years and very intensely for the past nine months.

“This is not an overnight event,” said Councilwoman Elaine Hays.

The public forums would be in the Civic Center Hospitality Room inside Entrance Seven. The dates and times are: Sept. 14 at 8:30 a.m., Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sept. 21 at 8:30 a.m.

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