City council gives downtown structure another chance at restoration

City council gives downtown structure another chance at restoration
This is a look at the building how it once stood in downtown Wichita Falls.

WICHITA FALLS, TX (TNN) - Wichita Falls City Council members decided the fate of 14 properties that code enforcement said need to be demolished.

But there was one, in particular, the council struggled with.

Housing and Code Enforcement Director, Rita Miller, presented more than a dozen properties to council on Tuesday all accompanied with facts and pictures of old shabby broken-down structures.

Some of which property owners stood-up to approve the demolition. One Property owner that did not agree to move forward with the demo process was the owner what use to be a boot shop located at 615 7th street.

It was deemed a safety hazard with part of the structure crumbling into the streets, but an architect says the building shouldn’t be considered a loss.

“There are ways to fix all that, we just have to give the buildings some tender love and care that they haven’t had in 100 years,”said Syd Litteken.

Council members, especially the mayor expressed mixed feelings saying while public safety is a priority the preservation of historic downtown is just as significant.

“It was looking pretty shaky as far as saving the structure for a while, and the city has red-tagged it and wanted to get rid of it cause it looks dangerous. Right now, we are going to shore up the walls that are left and try to put the roof on and make it a viable downtown structure,” said Litteken.

Wichita Falls community organizations and leaders showed their support for saving the building as well.

“When you tear down an old structure like this that history is gone forever. You never get that back, so the Heritage Society just wanted to make sure that we keep the Historic fabric of Wichita Falls intact,” said Stacey Flood, Curator at Kell House and member of the Heritage Society.

After a little deliberation, the building was saved from demolition, for now.

“Council allowed the property owner to put wall jacks on both the front and the rear. That needs to be done in five days, and then they gave them 90 days to get permits and begin the restoration process,” said Miller.

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