WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Lake Wichita revitalization hit a milestone Tuesday in what is being called a historic moment for a project that is four years in the making.
Those who are working to bring the lake back to life have received their long-awaited permit from the Army Corp of Engineers.
This will allow them to start building and excavating the lake.
A press conference was held Tuesday at Lake Wichita where Mayor Steven Santellanna made the announcement.
"After four years of hard work and partnerships, we have officially received the fully approved permit from the Army Corp of Engineers for the Lake Wichita Falls Revitalization project," said Mayor Santellanna over a cheering crowd.
He said this proves there is no task so big that the Wichita Falls community cannot overcome.
Steve Gardner, Chairman of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee, said this could not be done without the support from all of those involved and the 3,100 donors. Like the Falls Distributing Company, who present the committee with a check for $12,000 to go towards the lake's revitalization during the big announcement. Another check was also presented from Arconic for $20,000.
So what does this mean for the future of Lake Wichita?
"This permit that we have gives the ability for the lake to progress forward without any hesitation," said Mayor Santellanna.
Mayor Santellanna said the goal is to bring businesses and people out to the lake. Which will not only add to the recreation in the Falls but the economy.
"The economic impact is almost immeasurable, but you know it's going to have a positive effect," said Mayor Santellanna.
Gardner said this is just the beginning, and now they will be able to start some of the projects they already have the grants and funding for.
Gardner said the first thing we can expect to see is a board walk, the boat ramp expanded to four lanes and the All Veterans Memorial Plaza to name a few.
"People will be able to see some real concrete improvements in the next 12 to 24 months," said Gardner.
Improvements Tom Lang, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, said will benefit Wichita Falls for years to come.
"Four years and $50 million so we can have our lake back for a century, for 100 plus years," said Lang. "For not just our kids and grandkids but our great and great grandkids."
Lang said the city of Wichita Falls is showing the rest of America why it is important to preserve our lakes, and how to do it.
While this is a big step forward Mayor Santellanna said it is just the starting point for Lake Wichita, and they still need more donations to come in to keep the momentum going. Click here to learn how you can help.