2021 State of the City Address: Amarillo leaders discuss Amarillo’s growth, future, and upcoming election at annual event

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The city of Amarillo’s 2021 State of the City address took place Wednesday morning in downtown Amarillo at Hodgetown.

The event was open to the public and was attended by students from local schools, business owners and community members.

The address’ speakers included:

  • Mayor Ginger Nelson – Amarillo Mayor
  • Casie Stoughton – Amarillo Public Health Department
  • Jared Miller – Amarillo City Manager
  • Martin Birkenfeld – Amarillo Chief of Police
  • Laura Storrs – Assistant City Manager of Amarillo
  • Michael Kashuba – Director of Amarillo Parks and Recreation
  • Rich Gagnon – City of Amarillo’s Chief Information Officer and Director of Information

“You heard all of the different departments talking about different budget priorities for the upcoming year, initiatives that they’re working on, whether it’s things that we are putting in front of the voters, to enable us to do additional projects and very important projects, whether it’s parks, police, fire, streets, compensation, things like that, which are all incredibly important,” said Miller.

Many concepts were discussed by the panel, including the ongoing issue of thousands of local students being without access to internet broadband connectivity.

Gagnon explained, “As I said earlier, the first thing- that the first issue that we, that AISD had to address was thousands of students without internet broadband; without broadband internet connectivity. At that point, we actually started researching possible solutions.” He continued, “We spent a year testing multiple technologies, and not just testing the technologies, but building a cost model, because it’s just as important that the solution be sustainable.”

Additionally, Nelson touched on the upcoming election in November and what will be on the ballot.

“So priorities in the city are definitely parks, public safety and streets, and I think you’ll see the work that we’re doing tying into that,” Nelson said.

Other city department heads addressed areas where they have seen areas of growth, along with other areas that still need to work around a few hurdles.

Kashuba shared how his department has seen great goals and had many achievements. However, they are still facing challenges.

The City of Amarillo’s Parks and Recreation Department’s Director shared, “One of those challenges is the fact that we don’t have enough fields. There was a study that was commissioned that said we were about eight ball fields short.”

For more information about Wednesday’s State of the City event, click here.

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