Wichita Falls, TX. -
"Pratt & Whitney is key to our economy," said Henry Florsheim with the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce.
"They are one of our largest employers. They provide the types of jobs that our people are good at."
Wichita Falls city leaders will soon consider spending $1.8 million, in hopes of sparking economic growth. It's part of an enhancement project for Pratt & Whitney United Technologies.
Pratt & Whitney is one of the largest employers in Wichita Falls. It's also a business, city officials say, that already provides major contributions to the city.
The goal of economic growth in Wichita Falls comes down to the support of existing businesses in the community, according to city leaders. That support is something that could ultimately be cheaper and more effective, than bringing in new businesses, according to the chamber of commerce.
"This is a great company, they've been great corporate citizens," said Florsheim. "This is one of those projects that are important to support as they try to do more and try to become a stronger facility."
The funding would be part of a total $3 million dollar modernization project. The $1.8 million would come in the form of a no-interest, forgivable loan. Meaning the Pratt & Whitney would have to meet certain expectations.
"This is a retention project, so there certainly may be some new jobs created but the main goal here is to modernize the facility, make it stronger in the eyes of the corporate parents and allow them to do more here," said Florsheim.
The source of funding for the project would come from the pockets of Wichita Falls residents. It's part of the 4A sales tax that was designed strictly for economic development opportunities.
"The more, as a community, that we can support these existing companies, the better off we're going to be when they're making decisions about what to do next," said Florsheim.
Support some residents say may be heading in the right direction.
"I think if the money is spent to update and revitalize that particular agency, and keep them from moving somewhere else, that this is a pretty good plan," said Beverly Ellis, a Wichita Falls resident.
"If we could see some results and what they can offer for town, I think it would perhaps be a good idea. But yet we need other areas too to be filled in," Darlene Menascio, a Wichita Falls resident.
The Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry will introduce the enhancement project to city council May 5th. Specific details of the plan are still under review.
Even if those funds are approved by the city council, Pratt & Whitney will still have the ultimate decision on whether or not to go through with the project