By Titus Gilner
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, the city of Amarillo hosted the State of the City address at the Civic Center. Mayor Ginger Nelson and seven representatives from different departments held a discussion about the general state of Amarillo, and as Mayor Nelson put it, “How we can imagine our city to be even better than it is today.”
Various initiatives, improvements and policy changes were discussed. Among many things, Juliana Kitten, community development director, discussed “putting an end to veteran homelessness,” Dr. Kati Wrubel, the new director of animal management and welfare, talked about “creative solutions to animal overpopulation” and Michael Kashuba, chair of parks and recreation, rolled out his ideas to open the Thompson Park pool by Memorial Day 2021.
The biggest announcement was when Assistant City Manager Kevin Starbuck discussed plans to completely renovate the Civic Center. “The Civic Center has served our community incredibly well for the last 51 years. The challenge is we have a lot of needs and it’s our opportunity to address those needs,” Starbuck said.
According to Starbuck, Amarillo’s current Civic Center just does not fit the needs of a convention center in a city of Amarillo’s size. The proposal includes renovations to the existing facilities and the Santa Fe Depot, adding on an arena that can seat 10,100 people and a new plaza where the current city hall sits. For information on the proposal, visit conversationciviccenter.com.
Mayor Nelson ended the event with a hopeful tone. She spoke of the future and opportunities for improvements and challenges. “We are winning at setting goals and completing them,” she said. “Let’s think like history’s biggest thinkers. Let’s dream like Martin Luther King Jr could dream. Let’s create like John, Paul, George and Ringo. It doesn’t cost us anything to imagine what our city could be.”