A city’s downtown area often has either a unique charm or a long forgotten past. The latter is more closely associated with Amarillo’s downtown. Although over the past few years a mixture of businesses have slowly begun moving into the area, downtown is still primarily associated with a daily work commute. Once a downtown has been left behind in favor of outward expansion, the task of bringing it back to life can be a long journey which may or may not be successful. Can downtown be rejuvenated? Well, Downtown Amarillo, Inc. and the City of Amarillo have several things in the works for a new downtown which will hopefully entice more patrons to visit the quaint brick streets.
Downtown is a refuge for business but is still seemingly forgotten at nights and on weekends if you venture much further than the area just around Polk Street where the majority of new restaurants are located. Of course there is the Civic Center and the Globe News Center of the Performing Arts which do draw a crowd with numerous events. Even with performing arts and several frequented restaurants, the downtown area is still not truly a pedestrian friendly area. With gaps between where citizens are eating a meal or attending an event, downtown still lacks a truly visitor friendly feel. Polk Street used to be the “place to be” years ago but today it is slowly trying to regain some of that character to entice people to stay beyond their meal or planned event.
Center City of Amarillo, Inc. has been working to revitalize downtown, but one organization isn’t enough to bring the hustle and bustle back downtown. The Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) was created in order to draw businesses to downtown and the Courtyard by Marriott will inhabit the 10-story Fisk Building located at 724 S. Polk Street, a beautiful historic structure which was built in 1920. Now, Amarillo must focus much time and energy into creating a downtown that is pedestrian (even tourist) friendly; only time will tell if Amarillo can once again have a flourishing downtown.