By Amarillo Globe-News
When the multipurpose event venue (MPEV) opens next year in downtown Amarillo, it is understandable that the Amarillo Civic Center is going to have a bad case of building envy.
The aging Amarillo Civic Center is going to stick out like a sore thumb compared to the new-kid-on-the-block MPEV. Since these two structures are basically next door to each other, the difference in quality is going to be painfully apparent.
The city needs to realize this, and start considering now what to do with the antiquated ACC, which was built in 1968 — and looks every bit of its 50 years.
A previous version of Amarillo City Council attempted to address the old school ACC in 2016 — the key word being “attempt.”
For some reason, the council stuffed a $83 million ACC expansion/renovation proposition onto the ballot with six additional capital improvement projects totaling a whopping $340 million. Surprise — only two propositions passed (related to street projects and public safety). Had Amarillo voters approved all seven bond propositions, taxes would have increased as much as 57 percent.
This orgy of proposed government spending was a factor in the failure of the ACC proposition. The ACC proposition got 42.4 percent of the vote in Randall County, and 42.7 percent in Potter County. However, it needs to again be mentioned that this was one of seven propositions on the ballot calling for $340 million in spending. It was simply too much for voters to justify.
There is no debate about it — the ACC needs renovation/repair. Anyone who has been in Cal Farley Coliseum can see this fact.
Amarillo has long known that it is unable to attract many larger forms of entertainment/attractions because Cal Farley Coliseum is no longer able to handle the logistics or provide the crowd needed to make the money which brings in the big names.
And while there have been “blueprints,” “needs assessments” and “master plans” related to ACC bandied about since 2016 and before, there has been little progress made on addressing what is obviously needed — a rebirth of Amarillo Civic Center.
The reality is this — Amarillo knows it needs to fix its civic center. This is a fact. And with the MPEV coming, now is the time to put every possibility on the table.