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Wichita Falls' Mayor Discusses City's 2014 Changes

Many changes can come with ringing in a new year and the city of Wichita Falls is no exception.
Many changes can come with ringing in a new year and the city of Wichita Falls is no exception.

After a historic year of drought and tough new water restrictions, the city is now preparing even tougher restrictions in 2014.

Mayor Glenn Barham says he is looking forward to the new Wichita Falls Regional Airport opening but he is not excited about the prospect of even more water restrictions.

Transportation upgrades were one of the positive developments for the city of Wichita Falls last year, and the coming year.

The new Wichita Falls Regional Airport terminal is expected to open in November.

“Hopefully it will be an economic boost, number one it will give us space to actually go out and market the community for other airlines,” says Mayor Barham.

And 2014 is the first full year for the new downtown travel center.

“Staff anticipates that the travel center will be a break even or maybe even a profit making venture for the transportation division, of course that remains to be seen, I don't see why it shouldn't,” says Mayor Barham.

But while improvements have come for transportation,  so far the thing the city needs most has not

“If our water use continues as it has and there's no relief in the form of either heavy snow or rain we'll probably be in stage 5 in mid February. I'm not look forward to that I’m sure the citizens aren't looking forward to that but it's the reality of the situation,” says Mayor Barham. 

And those restrictions could affect another city project, the new million dollar Aqua Loop Water Slide that's supposed to be finished when Castaway Cove opens in May, but....

“In all probability if we stay in stage 4 Castaway Cove will not open this summer if we go to stage 5 it for sure will not open this summer,” says Mayor Barham.

Mayor Barham says the reserve fund has enough money to maintain the park if it doesn't open and that the new slide will be constructed regardless, and will help raise attendance and profits when it does open.

Stage five restrictions have not been determined yet but Mayor Barham says the water resource commission, which made the stage four recommendations, has been discussing all the options. 

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