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City of Amarillo unveils $319 million concept plan for Civic Center renovations and new 10,000 seat arena

On Wednesday, the City of Amarillo unveiled a $319 million dollar concept plan to renovate the Civic Center and build a new 10,000 seat arena. City officials are hoping to put a $279 million bond for the proposed project on the ballot in May 2020. The rest of the project would be funded from other sources.

“As we project it, the total cost of the project is somewhere in the range of $319 million. From that we estimate the Civic Center renovation, the Convention Center expansion, the addition of a new arena and the additional parking required to support the facility costs about $291 million as part of the total project cost.

"We also have a new central plaza in the downtown area - a four-acre area that would accommodate 1,700 people in an outdoor environment for concerts and other gatherings.

“What we are proposing is this will go to voters as a property tax supported bond issue. At the current time we are focusing on looking at a May 2020 election that would be presented to voters with a $279 million bond. We are looking to present that to them, with the city council’s approval, that will result in over a 30-year term, a 15.1 cents increase on property taxes that equates to $150 a year or $12.57 a month for a $100,000 valuation," Assistant City Manager Kevin Starbuck said.

City leaders said the plan includes major renovations to the existing Civic Center, making the Santa Fe Depot part of the public space, a new parking garage and moving City Hall to new location downtown.

“When we are recruiting new businesses from out of town, one of the first things they want to see is downtown.

“It’s not just we’re improving the quality of life for our current residents, but we are rolling out a red carpet that helps in bring new businesses, new job opportunities, and increase our economic impact for our city,” Amarillo City Councilmember Elaine Hays said.

The proposed addition of a new 10,000-seat coliseum would hold events that have outgrown the existing facility and attract new ones, such as large music acts that no longer come to the city.

City officials said the new ACCC arena would seat a maximum of 10,100 people. Inside, the arena will have a steel height of 60’+. These two primary, modern features will greatly increase Amarillo’s chances of landing major shows and entertainers.

The ACCC would also have a new 75,000 square-foot exhibit hall and expanded 30,000 square-foot ballroom. Modern dressing/locker rooms and new concession/restroom facilities would be a part of the new arena.

Parking is always a concern – and parking at the ACCC has not been overlooked. The new ACCC would include a new multi-level parking deck, located on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Fillmore Street.

There will be four public meetings to discuss and make suggestions about the proposed plan. Important dates for public forums (public forums are at the Amarillo Civic Center Hospitality Room/Entrance 7):

● Saturday, Sept. 4, 8:30 a.m.

●Thursday, Sept. 19, 1 p.m.

●Thursday, Sept. 19, 5:30 p.m.

●Saturday, Sept. 21, 8:30 a.m.

A five-member citizen executive worked to form the framework of the Civic Center proposal. The following people served on the executive committee:

Jennifer Gallardo, North Branch Manager, Amarillo National Bank

David Lovejoy, KGNC radio journalist and Amarillo Branch NAACP Vice President

Rod Schroder, former Amarillo Independent School District Superintendent of Schools

Mike Hughes, local businessman - medical services

Julie Sims, Amarillo resident and community volunteer

“As we’ve seen with Hodgetown, it’s about the experience - not so much the event. This Civic Center is lacking amenities, we have to address that and investment now will pay off in the future.

"To have this project and redo the Civic Center will ensure us of another 50 years of being the great community we are," David Lovejoy said.

Below is the figures provided by the City of Amarillo about how the renovations / new arena would affect tax payers and the local economy:

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