Around 200 people gathered downtown at the Amarillo Civic Center to hear plans for the new downtown renovations. The group was divided as some were completely skeptical and others were excited and praised the plan.

Wallace Bajjali Development Partners are engaged in the development project that surrounds the Amarillo Civic Center. The firm is proposing construction of a 300 room Wyndham convention center hotel ($69 million), an event stadium ($39 million) and a parking garage ($13.4 million) all around the Civic Center designed to increase foot traffic in the downtown area. The area would be built without a property tax increase.

Proposed funds will come from federal tax credits, hotel/motel tax revenues, increased rent at the Civic Center and Globe News Center and event ticket surcharges.

“What about water? I’m sorry, but we’ve got the mayor on TV telling us to wash our clothes by hand,” Joseph Hayes said, referring to city public-service ads promoting water conservation. “And you guys are building Wally B. Jolly Wonderland. We are in the middle of a recession and a drought. ... You guys are really good at making this complicated for us, but we are not dumb.”

This was just one voice in opposition to the downtown renovations.

“You can find a reason to do nothing all the time,” Joe Esch of Wallace Bajjali said. “That’s not the way this place (Amarillo) was founded. I don’t think you just stop because you’ve got a problem in front of you. I think you find solutions for it.”