Reviving Downtown Wichita Falls Starts With Vision

Reviving Downtown Wichita Falls Starts With Vision

The downtown revival continues as business owners and the community comes together on 8


and Ohio.

The Zales building, one of the oldest buildings in Wichita Falls, is re-opening thanks to the help of Downtown Proud.

Downtown Proud is an organization dedicated to rebuilding Wichita Falls. The plan is to start on 8th street because many people visit the farmers market every weekend. 

Henry Florsheim, President for the Chamber of Commerce said, “Our downtown has to be the heart of this city. If you look at any city that's done well over the last 30 years, they have vibrant downtowns.”

Big Blue and the Zales building are just two buildings downtown that are waking up from their historic pasts. Downtown Proud said they're working street-by-street to bring life back to downtown Wichita Falls.

“There's a ton of things to do downtown that you probably don't even know about unless you just came down and explored a little while,” said one representative of Downtown Proud. “Including 8th Street Coffee Shop, the Gypsy Kit, Ally Cats, the Broken Tap and the Wichita Theater.

Downtown Proud understands one of the most difficult tasks is getting businesses back into the larger buildings like Zales and Big Blue.

“When we realized Big Blue was being bought and some people had some vision for that we were real excited and we think that's going to be corner stone for what's coming,” said Florsheim.

He hopes more businesses follow in Big Blue’s footsteps.

“You don't want to have people saying, ‘downtown is dead,’” said Florsheim.

Saying it’s possible to have a busy retail and restaurant sector across town and a good downtown.

The plan is to transform the downtown area into an arts district where people can visit museums and restaurants. City officials say it’s a draw not only for Wichita Falls but for people throughout Texoma.

Downtown Proud wants to capitalize on any new growth in the downtown area saying success breeds success. After that, they say the sky is the limit.

City officials did not say which businesses plan on moving into the downtown area. The Chamber of Commerce will be holding a meeting with the owners of Big Blue to discuss those details later this week.

Brody Carter, Newschannel 6