Wichita Falls City Council approves apartment project

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - New developments are set to begin on the east side of Wichita Falls after the city council approved a project to turn seven acres of land into an apartment complex, amongst other things.

While some community members are excited for what this can do, others expressed their frustrations.

They are frustrated with the Wichita Falls City Council because they believe the council’s priorities for the east side aren’t in line with what the community says their needs are. But the developers said they have a couple things in store they believe will be a positive influence for the east side community.

“We are not coming to fight,” Kenneth Williams, a developer, said. “We are coming to invest and create inspiration in that community.”

The Williams were working on a separate project in Wichita Falls when they stumbled across an opportunity at 1304 and 1400 Trout Street, seven acres of land with an abandoned school on the property. They are looking to turn some of the space into an apartment complex but have a larger vision at hand.

“It has a gigantic auditorium,” Williams said. “In today’s market, the biggest need is auditorium space for event centers or veteran housing and stuff like that.”

They believe this could be a gateway to bigger and better things on the east side of Wichita Falls.

“Through the events and the connectivity of the community, it is going to bring about revenue and interest,” Williams said. “It is going to bring about other developers coming in because they want to piggyback off of a new spirit, a different direction, a new paradigm.”

But there are community members that are upset because they believe there are more pressing things that the east side needs.

“I don’t think we need that,” Beverly Ellis, a resident, said. “I think what we really need is homes. We have no grocery stores in the area. We had two major grocery stores in that area when I was growing up, but we have nothing now.”

Ellis isn’t necessarily taking her frustration out on the developers, but rather the city council for not delivering on what she and others have asked for.

“That is fine if they are going to do it,” Ellis said. “I don’t like it. I think there are better things that can be done with the property. Grocery stores, businesses that are viable businesses for the community. We don’t need any more apartments.”

The developers heard the outcry from community members at the city council meeting. They said they didn’t realize there were other needs and are open to hearing ideas of how they could possibly help with other properties in the future.

“It is a possibility that even those that are hungry to do something, maybe they can come with a plan or a proposal with us and maybe we can help facilitate some of that,” Williams said. “Maybe not all of that, but we can help facilitate some of that and we can create some energy on the east side.”

The Wichita Falls City Council did approve this agenda item, so the Williams will be moving forward with the development of a new apartment complex, amongst the other things they have planned. They hope to see the auditorium ready to host events within a year.