WF 4B board to help fund circle trail and MPEC improvement projects

The circle trail is nearly complete at the Wichita Bluffs.
The circle trail is nearly complete at the Wichita Bluffs.((Source: KAUZ))
Updated: Oct. 1, 2018 at 6:38 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, TX (RNN Texoma) - Despite six of seven bond propositions for a handful of projects failing in May, the City of Wichita Falls is moving forward with a couple of them.

The 4B board has agreed to help fund a portion of one of the circle trail projects, as well as improvements to the MPEC facilities.

For years finishing the circle trail has been at the top of a long list of things to get done for the city.

"It's not like we would build 80 percent of a trail and then just stop," Wichita Falls Mayor, Stephen Santellana said. "Especially when somebody is going to pay for 80 percent of the last portion."

Within the last couple years TxDOT awarded the city three matching grants, agreeing to pay 80 percent of the final three stretches of trail as long as the city matched the final 20 percent.

However, that’s something the city had been unable to do.

“We were struggling a bit and the 4B board welcomed that request with open arms,” Deputy City Manager, Jim Dockery said. “They all unanimously felt like the project was worthy of their participation and their help.”

The city put the projects on a bond proposition only to see them fail.

But the 4B board has agreed to match one of those grants for the next stretch of trail.

"The board members are really common-sense guys," Mayor Santellana said. "And they see the importance of those projects for Wichita Falls. That's what they're there for."

The 4B board has also agreed to help fund MPEC improvements, also one of the failed bond propositions.

"Buildings need maintenance," Dockery said. "They need repair. They need updating. and you can't just sit by and let those facilities rot."

The improvements will include renovations to the bathrooms at the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall and new LED lighting at the Kay Yeager Coliseum.

"That's a smaller project that we can kind of check off the list that's not going to be a huge detriment to that 4B budget," Mayor Santellana said.

Mayor Santellana and Dockery said they're relying on the 4B board because the projects need to get done, and they could look to them for others too.

"I said it after the bond failed that one way or another we were going to look for the money somewhere," Mayor Santellana said.

"All of the projects may not get accomplished," Dockery said. "But those that we feel are really necessary for the community and ones that particularly have other funding sources that we might lose if we can't come up with those matching funds are going to be a priority."

Dockery said there are still two more sections of the circle trail that have to be done and have matching grants from TxDOT.

He said the city does intend on going back to the 4B board in the coming years to match those grants as well.

Dockery and Mayor Santellana both want to remind residents that the vote on the bond propositions was for how to fund the projects, not whether or not to do them.

Dockery said there will be no additional tax hikes for the projects.

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