Olney approves Economic Development Corporation

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 7:54 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - In October the new Economic Development Corporation in Olney will officially get to business the city voted in favor of moving from a Type A to Type B corporation in May.

Board members along with the residents of Olney want to see the city doing better when it comes to housing, schools, and a their downtown area. The former director of the Olney Industrial Development Corporation believes now is the time to revamp Olney.

“At one point Olney was kind of struggling, I mean we were struggling,” said Wiley Hughey, former director of the Olney Industrial Development.

Hughey spent 25 years bringing 2,000 jobs to the city.

“Onley Savings and loan closed and was over 200 jobs and that was during the savings alone crisis and we were kind of struggling. Jobs make a community, as far as your retail, your schools, and your hospitals. It all relies on the jobs you have in your community,” said Hughey.

Today, the job market secured 80% of the city voted in favor of shifting the city’s focus to attracting more people to Olney and keeping them here. The EDC plans on focusing on the quality of life.

“You can’t keep a good employee if they don’t have a nice place to live. If we stack them in apartments or we put them in substandard, they not going to stay. The two major employers Air tractor and Tower, after talking to them 40-60% of their staff travels in from another place,” said Tom Parker, Director of EDC.

Parker said keeping out-of-town workers in Olney will help the city excel. The EDC plans on building 50 homes in the next three years.

“We would be able to do downtown revitalization with swimming pools, parks, ballparks. There are lots of things you can do with a Type B that you could not do with a Type A organization,” said Hughey.

“The city can only do so many things to entice or elicit outside groups to come in and perform some of these things. Outside resources to come in and help us, we’ve got good plans, good places to do it we just need a little help to kind of push of to the finish line,” said Parker.