As Amarillo prepares to build the downtown baseball stadium, I continue to wonder where the stadium's private donors have disappeared to.
If you recall, in 2015, Bill Gilliland and Laura Street told members of the Amarillo City Council that they were prepared to seek private donors to help fund the MPEV. The two local business people stood at the podium and told the council they planned to do that to help Amarillo afford the MPEV.
According to City of Amarillo documents, Gilliland said that he had raised $2,075,000 from twenty supporters of the MPEV to help fund its construction. This included a donation that Gilliland cited from local resident John Krister.
According to a local news outlet, during the discussion, Street said, "There are a group of leaders, business people in our community who care enough about this project, the catalyst project, to see that it go forward in some way and what we fear the most is that it's going to be stopped now."
The question now is: where are the private donors at?
City staff does not talk about the private donors in respect to funding the stadium. In fact, all that the citizens are currently aware of is the use of Hotel Occupancy Tax funds and bonds leveraged by public improvement district funds and HOT funds. There has been no mention of the private donors since that night in August 2015 at Amarillo City Hall.
Today, the City of Amarillo is now preparing to have tax revenues put toward the stadium. Those are revenues that we could be using for other things like tourism and Civic Center renovations. Instead, they will put toward a baseball stadium downtown.
It is also worth pointing out that Lubbock's United Supermarkets Arena was built with funds donated to Texas Tech University. If they built an arena of that quality with private donations in Lubbock, surely we could do the same in Amarillo.
Where are the private donors?
Now would be a good time for them to return.
-Thomas Warren III, Editor-In-Chief