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Downtown Wichita Falls Development Continues Goal to Improve Downtown Wichita Falls

Downtown Proud officials says improving the downtown area continues even after the closure of the First Wichita Building.

Since the owner of the First Wichita Building, also known as Big Blue, announced the building's closure last month, some have wondered how that could impact downtown.

Those with Downtown Wichita Falls Development say new businesses are actually set to move into downtown, one maybe as early as August.

Downtown Wichita Falls Development Executive Director Cynthia Laney says two new and one existing Wichita Falls business will be setting up shop downtown and while the closure of Big Blue was unexpected, she is optimistic the area will continue to grow.    

Big Blue is one of downtown's most iconic landmarks but owner Rodd Womble says he has decided to close the building because of the cost of repairing the elevators. 

However, Laney is thankful because many of Big Blue's tenants have decided to keep their businesses in the area.

"We were happy to see that 80% of people who were in Blue love downtown, want to stay here so they found other office spaces down here," Laney says.

Downtown Wichita Falls Developement was one of those tenants but has since relocated to the Oil and Gas building around the corner.

"Even though we had to move, being here on the ground floor, we're having more people stop by and visit and see our new offices and talk about what their dreams and visions are for downtown and their businesses and everything," Laney says.

It's those dreams and visions that has Laney and others striding toward the continuous improvement of downtown.

Laney says a way to improve the area is to create a downtown that is more pedestrian friendly for retail.

She says starting with the farmer's market and expanding from there would be her goal but she remains optimistic their hard work will pay off.

"If there is interest in Blue, then there could be interest in some of the smaller properties as well and I think people will come give us a look and hopefully we can share our enthusiasm and our passion for downtown and that will make them want to here," Laney exclaims.

She says the rest of 2013 looks busy for downtown Wichita Falls.

The Hotter N' Hell Hundred is next month and she says they've already starting planning this year's Zombie Crawl and will soon start prepping for City of Lights.

All of these events are expected to draw in thousands of people to the area.
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