WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Wichita Falls voters will get the chance to vote for a proposed new Municipal Center located in downtown.
Henry Florsheim, Chamber of Commerce CEO, said Proposition-D, the bond to build the center, would boost the city's economy. City council members said the current buildings face structural and overcrowding problems.
"What this Municipal Center would be is it would be the biggest downtown development project Wichita Falls has ever seen," Florsheim said.
City Hall, Wichita Falls Fire Department and Police Department would be located in one building. That is 500 city employees in downtown.
"City council and the chamber have identified downtown development as a priority if we're going to bring Wichita Falls forward," Florsheim said. "If you're going to develop a facility like this, why not put it in a place that would help you achieve another goal as well."
Florsheim said the hundreds of employees located in that area could benefit downtown businesses.
"It's pretty logical if you put 500 new people a block and a half from my front door that's very good from my business," Erik Scott the owner of Highland Public House said.
Another downtown business owner, Tagan Couch owner of Gypsy Kit Uncorked, said the propositions to renovate downtown were a factor in her moving her business in that area from Kemp Blvd.
"That will directly affect downtown Wichita Falls so we got here right on time so hopefully those bond will pass," Couch said.
Florsheim said the hundreds of new downtown employees could also benefit city residents because he said more businesses would be attracted to coming to that area to create more jobs.
Scott said he would like to see that happen.
"If Wichita Falls is to grow, you can attract the businesses, attract the jobs, and grow our population," Scott said. 'We've been pretty stagnant the past couple of decades if not longer."
Florsheim said the chamber is not targeting a specific business but said there is excitement for business to locate in downtown. Couch said she hopes the businesses remain owned by entrepreneurs of the area
"It's always kind of been that way where downtown is locally owned," Couch said. "Of course, we're welcoming anybody that would come down here and open up."
Prop-D is one of seven bonds residents will vote for in May. If it passes, it would cost taxpayers more than $77 million.
There are three proposed locations and one of them would take up four city blocks between Scott and Ohio Streets and 5th and 3rd Streets just north of the Historic District.
If it does not pass, city council would look council will look at renovating the current municipal building. That is expected to average around $30 million.