Local leaders believe Wichita Falls economy is on the rise

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Businesses are optimistic 2017 will be a good year for Wichita Falls.
That headline came out of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Wednesday.
2016 was an encouraging year for the Wichita Falls economy.
It included development downtown, at Midwestern State and Sheppard Air Force Base.
Henry Florsheim, Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce C.E.O., believes 2017 has more good in store.
    "We've already started with a load of projects on our plate at the city and the chamber." Florsheim said. "So it's going to be an exciting year and we are really looking forward to seeing what happens."
The MPEC is under new leadership, plans are in the works for a new downtown hotel and the Wichita Falls I.S.D. will soon have a new career technology center.
    "The more options people have here from employment, the more options they have for entertainment, the more options they have for dining, the more dollars get put into our economy from outside this area," Florsheim said. "And that's what economic development is about. It's bringing in dollars from the outside. The more we do that, the more dollars there are to spend and to share with the people that live here."
Florsheim said if oil and gas keep trending upward, the area will also be able to get more manufactures back to work.
Kevin Goldstein, President of First National Bank, believes the local economy continues to get better.
    "If you look at what our school district is doing, what our city is planning with the MPEC, downtown, our new career tech center, our Lake Wichita project, all those things are so positive," Goldstein said. "If we can just all come together and focus on those things that makes our city attractive, I think 2017 may be the best year we've ever had."
Goldstein wants Wichita Falls to be different in what they do and how they do it.
    "I think our country has been a little bit divided," Goldstein said. "Wichita Falls has to come together. We have to understand that this is our town. We have to own it. So let's do the things we need to do to make it great."
Kevin Goldstein said if the national economy crashes, he believes Wichita Falls will not be dramatically affected because it is on it's own track with the local government.
But it will only work if the community is behind the city's progressive ideas.

The Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce also gave out three awards at the event.
Frank and Joe's Coffee Shop won "New Member of the Year", Chuck White "Member of the Year" and Jim Johnson the "President's Award".

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