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The Official Blog of the City of Amarillo

Fifty Years Ago - Amarillo Voters Responded

OPEN SPACES – The Official Blog of the City of Amarillo

When Amarillo lost its Air Force Base in 1968, the city was described as “truly economically decimated, and people were very demoralized.” (From a 2015 article in the Amarillo Globe-News.)

Despite these less than ideal circumstances, voters in Amarillo responded at the ballot box by backing an ambitious and progressive project that would help the Amarillo economy for more than five decades.

When the U.S. Department of Defense announced the closure of Amarillo’s air base in 1964 (the base closed in 1968), Amarillo voters went to the polls on May 2, 1964 and approved the first modern arena in city history – the Amarillo Civic Center (ACC).

And the vote was not close – Amarillo voters wanted the Amarillo Civic Center.

The totals in that 1964 election were clear - 12.856 for the ACC and 4,600 against. In other words, more than twice as many voters supported the ACC than opposed it.

In addition, Amarillo voters also resoundingly approved a new municipal building (City Hall) – 12,517 to 4,890, a new library (13,400 to 3,992) and park improvements (13,889 to 3,559.)

Despite the fact Amarillo took a severe economic hit by losing a major economic asset (the Air Force Base), voters saw the need to invest in the city’s future – an investment which paid off for more than 50 years.


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