Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee finds new project developer

Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee finds new project developer
Updated: Aug. 30, 2018 at 7:16 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Time is running out for the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee to raise $1.5 million to match grants from the Texas Parks and Wildlife for three shoreline improvement projects at Lake Wichita.

The committee thinks they're about to take a big step in that direction with Wichita Falls city council expected to vote on spending $398,000 to enter into a contract with design firm Kimley-Horn.

Earlier in the summer the committee and city decided to do away with the old firm because they were asking for too much money.

But Kimley-Horn could save Wichita Falls $200,000 and make sure their dreams of a new lakefront don't dry up.

"The engineering department did a lot of work negotiating and making sure that we got exactly what we want in this phase of the project," Interim Chair of the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee, Penny Miller said.

The news has the committee feeling optimistic about their three projects for a new boardwalk pavilion, Kemp Street Boat Ramp, and Veterans Memorial Plaza.

"The design work is very important, obviously, because that will give us a firm idea of exactly how much each of these projects is going to cost," Miller said.

Miller said they are excited about saving money, but still worried about time.

"We need to get started on these grants and get matches to them so that we can get to work," she said.

Miller said they need to continue to move quickly because two matching grants the city was awarded from the Texas Parks and Wildlife totaling $1 million are set to expire in July of 2019  and June of 2021 if the committee can't raise the funds.

"The grants require at least some money to come from other places," Miller said. "So we are talking to individual donors. We do have businesses in the local area that occasionally will donate a portion of their proceeds to us."

Resident Kevin Pepper said he hopes everything comes together because they are projects he wants to see.

"I think the pavilion would be great for the city," Pepper said. "It would give the people an opportunity to come out, enjoy the lake, meet other people, eat food, and just mingle."

He said he's at Lake Wichita at least three times a week and thinks more would be too with the shoreline improvements.

"Support your city council, do what you can support all the projects for the lake, Wichita Falls, and let's make this place a better city," Pepper said.

The matching grants from the Texas Parks of Wildlife can be extended a year if the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee is able to make a lot of progress before their deadlines.

Miller said the committee has raised all the money needed for the design phase of the projects but still have a lot of money to raise for construction.

She said the focus is now on fundraising so they can have the money ready once the projects are designed.

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