WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The city of Wichita Falls held its first public neighborhood engagement meeting with three sessions on Saturday.
These meetings are a part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program which is a new initiative created from the city council`s strategic plan with a goal of revitalizing declining neighborhoods across the city.
There was discussion around what to do with the future of the Old High property, and ways to restore buildings and homes across Wichita Falls but organizers and the community both say there’s still a long way to go.
In an effort to come together to think of ways to keep the community of Wichita Falls at its best, city officials are putting actions behind those words with their neighborhood engagement meetings.
“The need arose from a strategic goal from the city council set back in 2017. As far as goals, really we’re wanting this to be driven by the community,” city of Wichita Falls senior planner Fabian Medellin said.
“And that was always our goal to try to talk less and hear more for these first meetings,” city of Wichita Falls Director of Development Services Terry Floyd said.
The intent of these meetings is to have the community come out and paint a picture of what they want this community to look like.
“We want to engage the public, get their hopes, their dreams their aspirations for the future of their neighborhood,” Medellin said.
There was much conversation on the idea of what to do with the Old High property. Some suggested the city turn it into a park and others in attendance say maybe high-rise apartment buildings.
One thing everyone agreed on was the need to restore many of these older buildings and homes in the city.
“We always hope for reinvestment in all the properties in Wichita Falls and particularly in this area given that some of these homes they have an age to them. They’ve been around and are some of the first homes in Wichita Falls and so to see them get a new life and be renovated and come back and hold that historical legacy they do in the community would be great,” Floyd said.
Medellin says if action isn’t taken soon, much in Wichita Falls won’t change.
“The sad thing is it hasn’t changed. It has changed some at the same time so there’s a little bit of duality,” Medellin said.
Both Medellin and Floyd say that when the city and community work alongside each other, the city of Wichita Falls will see the benefits.
This meeting was just the first of many to come in the future.