W.F. Moves Forward with Downtown Travel Center Project

Plans are moving along for the five point five million dollar Wichita Falls travel center project.
    It will be a connecting point for regional and city bus transportation.
    Transportation Director John Burrus says he thinks 80 percent of the project can be covered with federal transit funds.
    A large portion of that will come from grant dollars the city's already received and has been saving.
    Right now, there's  a two point four million dollar shortfall ... as the city waits to hear back about a major grant.
   Five years ago, studies revealed a need for a downtown travel center.
   "Where the project really took off was when Greyhound & Jefferson lines relocated to Jolly."
   That got the ball rolling.
John Burrus
W.F. Transportation Director
"It's really a dynamic partnership if you would, because we're bringing so many different groups to the table to work out of this facility."
  The plan is to include FallsRide, Greyhound & Jefferson lines, Sharplines, and TAPPS rural providers.  *plus,* Burrus says, there's a possibility of including Disabled American Veterans who use Sharplines to get to the V.A. hospital.
    "Veterans that, say, need local transportation, can ride FallsRide into the center, they can meet their van, & then proceed on to Oklahoma City."
   Cynthia Laney, with Downtown Wichita Falls Development, is looking forward to another downtown attraction.
  Cynthia Laney
  Downtown Wichita Falls Development
"My thinking whenever I saw the architect drawing, is it has -- you know -- the appeal of the downtown older section and everything, but yet it has a modern twist on it."
  The plan also includes more than a million dollars reconstructing 3rd & 4th streets ...
"Right now they're currently asphalt roadways, & we sure don't want to start bringing heavy buses over those asphalt roadways, turning on those surfaces & grinding that pavement up."
   Laney says another downtown investment will bring more people & businesses to that part of town.
   "I think it's gonna be just an -- I don't know -- a feather in our cap. Just another step in the direction to help with the revitalization of downtown."
   If everything goes as planned, groundbreaking could take place this September, and the grand opening could be in June of next year.

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