Will WT Expansion Create Parking Problem Downtown?

- AMARILLO -- The streets of Amarillo may get a little crowded in the near future.

    With West Texas A&M (WTAMU) University expanding their downtown campus, parking may become a commodity.
    WTAMU plans to move it's classes from the Chase Tower into the Commerce building by the fall of 2016.
    WTAMU's long range plans estimate as many as 3,000 students may attend the downtown campus.

    With thousands of students crowding into downtown, along with the city's plans for a convention center hotel and multi-purpose event venue (MPEV), finding a parking place will be a little harder.
    Mayor Paul Harpole says they don't foresee any problems.

    "Attendance now at WT in the Chase Tower is I think about 1,500.  So you have to take that, those are already dealing with that.  There are others, but there's a lot of parking downtown.  It's just people getting  used to not getting out and walking into a building 20 feet away."  Harpole said.

    Mayor Harpole says there are as many as 5,000 unused parking places downtown.

    That number will expand because WTAMU is looking at the possibility of adding a parking garage near the campus.  But, that would be years down the road.
    Meanwhile, the city's revitalization plans also include a parking garage.

    School officials are also hoping to work with a private company to bring more housing into downtown.  Specifically for WTAMU students.
    But, that too would add to the population of center city and the need for more parking.

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