Civic Center Future

- AMARILLO -- Repairs to the Amarillo Civic Center could be in the $1 million range.

    Two separate water main breaks last week flooded the basement of the Civic Center.

    Insurance is going to pick-up most of the tab but the city will have to pay the $250,000 deductible.

    These problems highlight just how old the facility is but there are plans to change it into a Convention Center.

    The Civic Center is part of the downtown revitalization but further down the road.

    It's actually part of phase two of redevelopment and ground hasn't even been broken on phase one yet.  Phase one includes a Convention Center hotel, multi-purpose venue and parking garage.

    There will be some movement on those projects soon but, the Civic Center changes won't happen for a few more years.

    Construction on the facility started in 1964.  It was completed four years later.

    That gives an indication of just how old the Civic Center is.

    There have been some improvements made over the years but not to the point where it's considered an optimal facility for major or large scale conventions.

    City manager Jarrett Atkinson says the flooding of the civic center doesn't necessarily put redevelopment on the front burner but they can get a head start through the repairs.

    "I don't know that it directly speeds it up.  What we'll do now is correctly probably termed more of a repair other than a remodel.  However, as we do that, we'll do a couple of things different.  We'll put the new water line in and a new fire line.  They were one, we'll make them into two."  Atkinson said.

    One of the problems with the water line was its placement.  It was installed under the ramp which was a bad place to begin with.

    If and when redevelopment of the Civic Center does come up, it will have to go through the voters in the form of a bond election.

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