Amarillo voters will have their say on a $275 million bond package in May.

The city council recently voted 5-0 to send the bond election to the ballot in May for proposed renovations to the Amarillo Civic Center, renovations to the Santa Fe Depot in downtown Amarillo, relocation of Amarillo City Hall, the creation of a central park, and construction of a new indoor event arena, among other projects. The total cost will run $319 million for all items included in the renovation proposal, with officials saying additional projects may be funded through revenue sources such as certificates of obligation.

While the bond is officially approved for the ballot, some local residents had asked city council members to consider placing the bond on the November 2020 ballot. James Schenck, an Amarillo businessman, was one of several residents pushing for the November election. In a letter to the editor published in January, he highlighted his opposition to the proposal for a May election.

“Our city leaders claim to be doing what the citizens want them to do, yet they have basically eliminated public comment at council meetings, and now they want the vote for the biggest bond ever to be held when voter participation will be the lowest,” Schenck wrote.

This will be the second time in less than four years that city officials attempt to secure passage of a civic center bond. Voters shot down a similar bond in November 2016, although several projects from the bond have reappeared in this year’s proposal.

The bond election will be held on May 2.

Thomas Warren

Thomas Warren, III is the editor-in-chief of the Amarillo Pioneer newspaper in Amarillo, Texas.


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