AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – During a planned special meeting of the Amarillo City Council, scheduled for 4:30 pm Friday at Amarillo City Hall, officials are expected to continue the discussion surrounding the potential addition of a metal pavilion at the Santa Fe depot.
According to an agenda posted for Friday’s special meeting, the council will discuss and vote on whether or not to authorize a new events pavilion at the Santa Fe Depot. The language for the item on the agenda reads:
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“This item is to discuss and consider authorizing the City Manager to execute all documents necessary for the erection of an approximately 60,000 square foot steel building (pavilion) at the Santa Fe Depot, located at 401 S. Grant in Amarillo Texas in an amount not to exceed $3,000,000.00.”
What happened during Tuesday’s meeting?
According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, this discussion initially began during Tuesday’s regular meeting, after the council unanimously voted to install water and electrical utilities at the Santa Fe Depot site. During the meeting, a measure was approved for the city to enter into a contract with Tri-State General Contracting Group, Inc. for $102,870 for the project.
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After that measure passed, the council began a conversation surrounding the addition of a new events pavilion at the Santa Fe Depot. Initially, the project was projected to cost $1,581,751. However, after the conversation brought forward potential improvements and expansion of the pavilion, the decision was made to host Friday’s special meeting to ultimately vote on the project after further research.
What changes to the proposed facility were brought forward during Tuesday’s meeting?
Jerry Danforth, the city of Amarillo’s director of facilities and capital projects, said the city had been looking at various challenges on the site, including how much the Working Ranch Cowboys Association was spending on tents during the World Championship Ranch Rodeo, as well as the paint of shade at the Santa Fe Depot during other events like the Amarillo Community Market.
“It was some of those challenges that we looked at and said ‘Okay, what can we do to, once again, mitigate this issue that we know we have? How do we do this?’” Danforth said.
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After talking with multiple users of the space, Danforth said the city ran calculations on an open-air pavilion based on the size that would be needed. Initially, officials said the plan would be to only build the pavilion and leave the dirt floor as is.
“It ends up being almost a full city block,” Danforth said. “So we went out and started taking a look at what it would cost to build a pavilion that has multiple uses, that the civic center now has new leasable space that they can use for the community.”
However, Amarillo City Council member Cole Stanley proposed that the structure be higher and a concrete slab be installed for the ground of the site, giving the pavilion the chance to be used for more events. Officials said it would cost between $420,000 and $500,000 to install a slab of concrete.
“The only reason I bring that up to the council is just in the way of, if you concreted that floor in one day, you’d have a massive cover for outdoor basketball, volleyball, things like that,” Stanley said. “There are so many things that we could envision in our community when we’re talking about downtown and the massive investment that we’ve already made down here. You know, for $2.5 million to have a large outdoor recreation facility, that could really do some things.”
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Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson agreed with Stanley, stating that the facility would be more usable with the concrete floor.
“I definitely envision this being an outdoor sports venue at some point,” she said. “I think adding the concrete floor is something I’m very interested in”
However, the goal continues to be for city officials to have this pavilion installed prior to the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo in November. Danforth initially said that it was tight timing, stressing that the Amarillo City Council has to make a decision within seven days for the process to begin.
The council is expected to vote on the measure during Friday’s meeting. The council is also expected to discuss the timeline for the project during the meeting, and whether or not the project can be completed in time for the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo in November.