Bond-election reawakens interest in downtown WF businesses

Bond-election reawakens interest in downtown WF businesses

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Some downtown Wichita Falls merchants said they have seen an increase in customers.

Their businesses stand in one of four locations the city chose for the proposed municipal center that ultimately failed.

Larry Ward, owner of Ward's Automotive, and Kevin Parks, owner of Parks Produce, said prop-d helped bring attention back to their area.

"It looked pretty gloom and doom but then it had a silver lining," Ward. He opened his businesses 37 years ago on Indiana Ave.
 
Parks' family has owned Parks Produce for almost 80 years.
 
There was a chance the city would buy them out at the fair market value using eminent domain if Prop-D passed.
 
"Friends and family and customers knew it was a concern of mine prior to the election," Parks said. "The unknown of what was going to happen."

Then something did happen.

"It brought back a local interest from people that kind of thought well they're gone," Ward said. "They're not there anymore."
 
"I've had new customers come by that didn't know about me before and there's has been a new interest," Ward said. "I've heard some of the other businesses say there has been a spark."

Ward said since April 23, the day early voting started, he has had more than 75 new customers.

"People was coming by saying 'Hey, we saw this. We heard about this. We need to hope that you stay here,'" Ward said.

Parks said he was relieved the proposition failed and is now excited to work with two new restaurants.

"Possibly, it did spark some people to say 'Hey, I'd like to support those businesses downtown," Parks said.

Prop-D failed with 75 percent of voters casting their ballots against it. That is more than 8,000.

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