WF leaders eager to take next steps in downtown revitalization

Streetscaping downtown and improving parking are two strategies being implemented.
Streetscaping downtown and improving parking are two strategies being implemented.((Source: KAUZ))
Updated: Sep. 25, 2018 at 5:20 PM CDT
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Wichita Falls city leaders and the downtown development steering committee are taking the next steps towards revitalizing downtown.

It's been a top priority of city council and staff since a strategic plan was drafted at the beginning of 2017.

"One of the pillars of our strategic plan was downtown revitalization," City Manager, Darron Leiker said. "So that culminated to the adoption of a dozen or so of the downtown steering committee's recommendations going forward."

"These are all things that a lot of people have been working on for a very long time," Downtown Development Steering Committee Member, Cody Magana said. "And none of them are small projects."

Since the strategic planning session, the steering committee and sub-committees have been created to help with the efforts.

Now the steering committee has come up with recommendations they believe will take downtown to the next level.

"There's a lot of people coming down here but sometimes they're getting themselves in sticky situations not necessarily knowing who they need to talk to, who they get permits from, etc.," Magana said. "So part of this is building out that plan on who do they need to talk to and when."

Some of the recommendations the committee came up with and city council directed staff to begin working on includes property maintenance to old and vacant buildings, coming up with parking solutions, updating the zoning districts and regulations, and streetscaping 8th St. from Scott Ave. to Indiana Ave.

"There's a lot of organic growth in downtown with new businesses cropping up and so forth," Leiker said. "And this will just continue to help that momentum along."

Magana said it will keep future development going the way they want it to go, and some changes to regulations will make it easier for people to come and stay downtown.

He thinks the improvements can take downtown to a place it's never been.

"I mean you can see it. It's a vibrant, alive community down here," Magana said. "We're just going to continue to keep it growing and I promise you we're not going to stop."

Despite the resolution being passed, it will still be a long process.

City staff anticipates it will take close to a year before ordinances are proposed to the city council for those changes to be made.

Magana said they will continue to focus on building the heart of the city downtown with the resources they have available.

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