Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Future vision

The city of Amarillo offered a listening post for all who wanted to speak.

In four nights of community meetings at four spots in the city, audiences of 30 to 50gave their input on every aspect of a city.

They talked about parks, traffic, housing, neighborhoods, filling in abandoned areas, access to services, better bus transportation -- every aspect of a city that touches their lives.

Their feedback will be used as a springboard for the city's Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee to work with consultants from Kendig Keast Collaborative to draft a comprehensive plan for the city's next 20 years.

And that feedback is vital, according to Bret Keast.

"From that, we will say, 'What is the community telling us?' This is your plan. Our job is to put your words and your visions on paper."

The plan will take about 14 months to complete. You can keep track of the process through our coverage here at and also through the committee's Facebook page.

Below are some of the comments that didn't make our print coverage of the final community meeting tonight at Puckett Elementary School.

A positive: "The elementaries (schools) are neighborhood-based, smaller in size, rather than large."

On the need to keep improving the Ports-to-Plains trade corridor that helps to link roadways running north-south across the United States from Mexico to Canada: "If our politicians don't get after our governor in Austin, they should be kicked out of office. You know what they say, 'Build the highway, and they (businesses) will come.'"

On the look of the Interstate 40-Interstate 27 interchange near downtown: "The state made some major improvements, but it doesn't seem like they've been maintained."

"I'm a big fan of infill and adaptive reuse," for older areas such as downtown Amarillo. "But you have to provide areas for lower-income (residents) to still exist."

"I think we need to support WT (West Texas A&M University and their move into Amarillo."

"The (arterial) roads are entirely too narrow in older parts of the city."

"I would like to see less cul-de-sacs and more ways to access the neighborhoods, so it's more efficient -- just more connectivity."

On the need for traffic control on Southwest 45th Avenue for pedestrian and vehicle access to the Southwest Branch Library: "I feel sorry for people going to that library, because there's no way to enter that library in a safe manner."

"I don't understand why they can't figure out how to make better streets so they won't get potholes every winter."

What comes to mind about Amarillo? "The smell. They say it's the smell of money. But some days, you can almost taste the smell of money from the feedyards."

"Coming from out of the area last year, what was known in Pennsylvania was the Big Texan (Steak Ranch) and Cadillac Ranch, of all things."

Amarillo "has everything you need,but it's not a huge city."

"Amarillo Boulevard, out on the north side, is tacky. There's not enough green space there. There's a lot of abandoned businesses."

"The Rails to Trails was designed to look pretty. It wasn't designed for transportation."

"The city could lead the way (in water conservation) by using native plants."

There's a need for "educating the public, in general, about water conservation, landscaping -- what we're doing at our own homes."

"We have (stormwater) drainage issues, especially on this side of town."

About traffic congestion on Coulter Street between Interstate 40 and the Medical Center: "I don't know how the emergency vehicles get through there, myself. ... I don't know what the solution is. But the more we let development go, the more expensive it's going to get."

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