Small Town Reaps Big Benefits

Iowa Park City Officials say despite economic hardships in Wichita County, Iowa Park is growing. The community is building new homes and bringing new businesses to the city. Iowa Park Mayor Joe Ward says they are constructing a new barbecue restaurant and several apartment complexes.  They are also planning on building a new hotel on Highway 287.

Ward says their property appraisal for homes and businesses increased to about $1 million for the year. Ward and City Manager Mike Price are paving the way to add businesses and buildings for future growth.  Ward says, "People are very supportive to what we're trying to do here as far as the progress goes, cleaning up the city getting rid of some eyesores and seeing the growth that takes place. So it's just a very exciting time".  And Price says, "We know we're in a down turn in the economy, but in Iowa Park everything has been looking pretty good. Our sales tax is probably the highest of anybody in the county of the increase there. We still got building going on some of it commercial some of it residential".

Ward says their main attractions include their Spray Park.  Iowa Park Student Ryan McIlroy says, ""I think it's going to be pretty fun to go there. And get myself wet in the summer because it's going to be really hot". Iowa Park Students say, "There's a diving board slides. There's a kiddie pool that never shuts down during the breaks. It's just fun".  And their schools. Ward says their high school academic programs offer dual credit courses giving students the opportunity to get credit for both high school and college courses.

Iowa Park Resident Daniel Selvidge says, "I think it's really good because when I was in school you only had a couple of classes like that and not a lot of people were eligible. Nowadays, a lot of kids that weren't able to go to college are getting the chance to ".

Ward says the schools don't have to cut back in their budget because the schools had been setting money aside and spending the money efficiently. Ward says they had a committee look at the different school buildings to see what needs to be updated for each.  They are planning on adding new facilities for each campus for future growth.  Residents are happy with the progress.

Iowa Park Teacher and Resident Christie McIlroy says, "We love it here I've been here my whole life and its grown. And we keep getting new people in".  The spray park opens for its third year on June 4th.  City Manager Mike Price says they have the land and incentives to build the new hotel, businesses, and apartment complexes.

Jessica Abuchaibe, Newschannel 6.