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Amarillo Council Kickstarts Process for New Civic Center Plan Despite Voter Rejection

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Just months after voters rejected the Amarillo City Council’s ballot proposal to issue $275 million in debt for a number of downtown projects, including renovations to the Amarillo Civic Center Complex, council members have voted to kickstart the process of considering new renovations to the facility.

Last week, the Amarillo City Council voted 5-0 to hire Garfield Public/Private LLC to fulfill a predevelopment services contract related to the Amarillo Civic Center. According to a memo attached to last week’s agenda, the item allows the City of Amarillo to seek Garfield’s “advice and counsel in connection with the planning, design, and construction of a project consisting of a modern arena, the rehabilitation and expansion of the Amarillo Civic Center Complex, the rehabilitation of the Santa Fe Depot, and associated parking facilities to serve the citizens and businesses of the City and the general public.” The item carries a maximum cost of $494,200.

The memo for the meeting also goes on to state the predevelopment period includes services such as conceptual design; updating construction cost estimates; analyzing current civic center operations; third-party review of environmental, geotechnical, and market studies; public and stakeholder engagement; and preparation of a public/private finance plan for the project. During predevelopment, the city will also negotiate with Garfield the terms and conditions of a professional services agreement that will include services related to the funding, strategy and potential ownership structures for the civic center project, a business plan for the program, conceptual design, estimated development cost, development schedule, operating pro forma, and funding, operating and ownership alternatives for the civic center project.

Prior to the vote, Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said she believes the item allows the city council to explore options for the civic center before moving forward to their next step.

“I think we’re in an

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