A grassroots political movement is aiming to give Amarillo’s young adults a voice in downtown development and city leadership. The Amarillo Millennial Movement was founded by mass media major Lily Gamble and former Amarillo College student Meghan Riddlespurger. The group’s goal is to gain support for building a multi-purpose event center in downtown Amarillo. “It would be a great place for the community to get together, and financially it is the best thing to do,” Riddlespurger said. An election Nov. 3 will decide the fate of the facility. Voters will decide for or against construction of the MPEV, which is part of a larger project that also would include a convention hotel and a parking garage. The MPEV, with a budget of $32.2 million, is one of the main things the group said it would like to see happen. Also described as a ballpark or baseball stadium, it would be located downtown on Buchanan Street and could host various events, Riddlespurger said. “It would be the spark that downtown needs in order to come back to life,” she said.The project has sparked controversy among Amarillo city leaders and citizens because of the cost of the project and differing opinions regarding the need for a new ballpark. “There has been an obvious difference between what the youth and the adults want for the city,” Gamble said. AMM consistently has supported the project and spoken in favor of continued downtown development. “We aren’t trying to ruffle any feathers,” Gamble said. “We just want to encourage the young adults of Amarillo to become a more active part of the community. We want them to know that they have a voice and they can be heard.” She noted that this is the first time young people have played an active role in city politics. AMM can help young adults become an active and powerful influence on Amarillo, Gamble said. The AMM has meetings at 6 p.m. every other Monday at various locations. The group has staged events such as movie night, a five-block walk-a-thon and a campout to reach out to young adults. AMM members also attend city council meetings so the opinions of the group and young adults of Amarillo will be heard and considered. “I hope they are successful in making the citizens of Amarillo aware that change needs to happen, and doing that, they can move toward that change,” said Angel Rodarte, a biology major and an AMM member.
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