Now comes the hard part for downtown's progress
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By John Kanelis
So ... a lot of folks thought the vote would be close.
It was. Fewer than 2,000 votes -- out of 22,444 ballots cast -- separated the winners from the, um, non-winners.
And the winners got their way Tuesday when Amarillo voters endorsed a controversial multipurpose event venue that includes a ballpark where folks will watch some professional baseball.
Voters spoke with a 52-48 percent margin on the MPEV.
"Live Here" continues its examination of this issue Thursday at 7 p.m. when Panhandle PBS senior content producer Karen Welch interviews city officials and voters about the results of the election.
The referendum was a non-binding event. The City Council isn't bound legally to abide by the results. Council members, though, understand the political impact that the vote carried. The impact would be catastrophic for the council if it decides -- more than likely on a 3-2 vote -- to reject the voters' decision on the MPEV.
That isn't likely to happen, as at least two of the new members of the City Council, say they'll honor the voters' wishes.
It would do the city well, though, for there to be a unanimous vote to ratify the election results.
The downtown revitalization effort has been like a roller-coaster.
It all began several years ago. City Hall asked residents what they wanted for their downtown. Residents responded with written recommendations and testimony at many public meetings. The city, working with investors and developers, produced a plan based on those conversations that includes the MPEV and the baseball park that eventually will replace the run-down Potter County Memorial Stadium next to the Tri-State Fairgrounds.
Then came the City Council election this past May and the seating of three new council members who opposed the MPEV. They managed to put the issue on the citywide ballot.
And Tuesday night, the voters spoke. Build the MPEV, they said, and make sure it includes the ballpark!
Let's listen to "Live Here" Thursday night at 7 to get an idea of where the city goes from this point forward.
Let's continue the conversation here and on the livestream on PanhandlePBS.com featuring conversations with Mayor Paul Harpole and City Councilman Mark Nair. What are your thoughts on the election and how should the City Council proceed?