City, Downtown Development hosts public meeting, outline next steps in 13-point “Downtown Plan”

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — This is just the next step for the city and falls in line with the 13-point “downtown plan” that the city council approved in 2018.

“It’s the next huge step for downtown,” Downtown Wichita Falls Executive Director Jana Schmader said. “It’s all about collaborative effort, it’s everyone wanting the same vision for downtown.”

The Downtown Public Stakeholders Meeting saw Terry Floyd, development services director for the city, present and answering questions related to the current draft versions of proposed city ordinances, which hope to establish a property maintenance code and vacant structure registry.

“We’ve see a lot of those properties that may change hands or something and for the city, we want a way to contact, in the event that their building does need some maintenance done to it,” Floyd said.

Hoping maintenance of all properties downtown will improve greatly, Floyd added a vacant structure registry would give the city the ability to get in contact with owners before it’s too late.

“Really we’re looking and striving for compliance, not citations,” Floyd said. “So working with these buildings to prevent them from deteriorating to the point where they would be eligible or slighted for demolition.”

Something very important to Downtown Wichita Falls Development.

“We are historic preservers, that’s very very important to us, so having property owners have to comply in order to preserve buildings is monumental to the growth and preservation of downtown,” Schmader said,

The goal is to take feedback from the forum on December 1, back to a small working group of downtown business owners, city and downtown development officials.

Then brief city council in January, with possible consideration taken in February.

“This is just one element of many other things that our city council or citizens and others that are doing to help with our downtown area,” Floyd said.

With the ultimate goal of improving downtown and all businesses across Wichita Falls.

After the council takes action in February, Floyd said it’s just the beginning.

They hope to compile detailed assessments of buildings downtown, with the hopes of implementing this next October.

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