Both sides react to reserved ballpark suites

Published: Oct. 20, 2015 at 1:39 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2015 at 1:51 AM CDT
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Amarillo, TX - 12 local businesses are pledging to buy out corporate suites for the proposed ballpark. While this is good news for supporters, others are wondering if this is just a ploy for more votes.

"My initial response is how can they sell something that hasn't been built," said co-spokesperson for Amarillo Citizens for Tomorrow David Kossey.

Kossey is just one of many who are asking this same question. How are corporate suites being reserved for a ballpark that hasn't been built, let alone voted on?

"Normally these go to the public and allow them to bid on these," said Kossey. "I'm just wondering who authorized them or gave them authority to make those decisions on who gets to choose who had those suites."

Vote FOR Amarillo, a local group in favor of the ballpark, took it upon themselves to survey local business owners to see if they would be interested in a corporate suite.

"We're finding out that businesses want to support the ballpark by committing to a suite," said co chair for Vote FOR Amarillo Paul Matney. "There's no contract and this is not a commitment to an operator, just simply to the idea."

The businesses who pledge to reserve a ballpark suite are Budweiser, Underwood Law Firm, Toot' n Totum, Upshaw Insurance, Street Toyota 1, Street Toyota 2, Pantera sharing a suite with Public Steel, Ditch Witch, and Skilled Trades. The remaining suites would go to Western Builders, Casey Carpet, Centergas Fuels, Kevin and Ginger Nelson, and Amarillo National Bank.

Along with these businesses, Matney says other supporters jumped on board and promised to be season ticket holders.

"We're really gratified because people feel strongly about this," said Matney. "They know the MPEV is going to be a diverse facility that can create jobs."

Others think it's just another tactic by Vote FOR Amarillo to sway voters.

"I think the Vote FOR Amarillo should have done this eight years ago. If they had gotten 50 businesses and 5,000 residents on board we wouldn't be having this conversation," said Kossey. "Now, eight years later they're saying two weeks before the election that they have support and we should vote for it."

Overall both Kossey and Matney want each voter to be informed of the possibilities.

"Get the facts, make up your mind, and exercise your right to vote," said Matney.

"If you vote for this, you're trying to get a 32 million dollar ballpark," said Kossey. "If you vote against it, you're open to options like the Civic Center, Polk street renovations, and anything you can dream up... but it can't pass and get all those things."

In addition to the pledges made by those companies, Vote FOR Amarillo says more that 400 people have promised to buy season tickets for the proposed ballpark.