Businessman hopes to sign long-term lease for MPEC

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Could the city be getting the MPEC off its hands?

One businessman said he has big plans to bring more events and more revenue to the city.

Darren Dale said he wants to do a long-term lease on the Multi-Purpose Events Center. He said he believes it will be a great move for the city of Wichita Falls, but city officials said they aren’t so sure.

Dale has run the Wichita Falls Farm and Ranch Show for the last 12 years, and now he’s looking to embark on a new venture.

“Throughout the years I’ve seen a lot of challenges and struggles and what I would like to do, my company, Jared, Star Expos, is doing a long-term lease on the Multi-Purpose Events Center,” Dale said.

Dale said he believes the common goal is foot traffic and getting people to Wichita Falls.

“The situation, corona’s hit, there’s a lot of opportunities out there. I look at things a little bit different than some people, I’m an entrepreneur,” Dale said. “This gives us the opportunity to turn it on, we can have a sequestering event seven days a week.”

While Dale has this idea, Mayor Stephen Santellana said he has yet to see a proposal but said they would be open to any idea that could save citizens money.

“If it’s a win-win for the city and win-win for the developer, there are so many moving pieces. There is a legal process for us we have to look at the longevity of the project,” Santellana said.

Santellana also said they would have to look at how it will affect those who already depend on the convention space.

“If we sell or privatize let’s say the MPEC, is that person going to guarantee that the MPEC stays open for 20 years? Because we have a lot of nonprofits that depend on MPEC facilities. It is our largest event space,” Santellana said.

Santellana, who said Dale has met with the assistant city manager but has yet to present the proposal which was requested, said he would love to meet with Dale and see a proposal because this could be a complete win for Wichita Falls.

Dale said he hopes to get the community’s support and continue to make that space available to non-profits.

Santellana said the proposal would first have to go through city management and followed by more meetings before getting to the council.

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