AC Regents approve plan to support east Amarillo growth

By JENNA GIBSON, Ranger Reporter:

Amarillo College is investing in the future of east Amarillo. The AC Board of Regents voted Tuesday, Jan. 24, to participate in an initiative that will use a portion of the college’s tax revenue to fund growth in that area.

The vote in favor of the East Gateway Tax Reinvestment Zone was unanimous. A prepared statement issued by college officials noted that “Amarillo College is always supportive of initiatives that will strengthen and support the economic base of our local community.”

The decision means that any increases in AC’s property tax revenue from the zone will be put into a fund that will help support development in East Amarillo. The college already participates in a similar tax reinvestment zone for downtown Amarillo.

Before the vote, representatives from The Big Texan Steakhouse addressed the Regents and explained how they hope the tax revenue will help them expand and attract more tourists to the area.

In other business, the Board approved a contract for construction of a new greenhouse facility and instructional labs on the Washington Street Campus. Funds for this project will come from a nearly $5 million department of 3ducation grant awarded in Fall of 2016. Along with the construction of the greenhouse, the grant will lead to the creation of new degrees and certificates related to horticulture, biotechnology, environmental science and sustainable resources. The new green house facility and instructional labs will take 12 to 18 months to complete. The new degree and certificate programs will begin Fall of 2018.

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