BE UTIFICATION PROJECT

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That's what the sign says. I don't know if the "A" fell off--which would be ironic for a city who's every sign plays up on the fact that the name of the town starts with "A"-- or if it's on purpose, but as you leave the Amarillo airport (officially: "Rick Husband International Airport")* and pull out onto the imaginatively named "Airport Boulevard", the sign says that the "BE UTIFICATION" project was paid for by a local bank.**

The project consisted of planting nice grass, shrubs and trees alongside the road people who have landed at the airport are going to take to get into town.

Lots of trees.

I mean LOTS of trees. They line the road. You can tell they were planted there on purpose because trees don't grow naturally in this part of the (hopefully soon) Republic of Texas. So one tree would get your attention. A mile of two rows of trees really gets your attention. And it does look pretty.

It also obscurs your view of Amarillo. I can't help but wonder if that's the real point.

Someone at the Chamber of Commerce probably asked, "OK, we've got 'em here. They's done landed at the airport. What do we need to do to get them (outsiders) to stay a spell?"

And then someone else said, "The longer we can keep them from actually seeing the town, the better!"

"Yeah! If we plant a forest of trees from the Airport to that giant Bell Helicopter factory, they'll be two miles on the road before they get a good look at us and they'll be too committed by that point to turn around and fly back where they came from!"

* If you don't know who Rick Husband was, well, shame on you!
** Go ahead: diagram that sentence. I dare you.