Downtown development project at standstill as WFISD board members sit idle

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Plans for “The Kate” apartment building in downtown Wichita Falls have come to a grinding halt.

School board members took no action on a request to rezone an area of downtown that would have allowed developer Will Kelty to move forward with the project.

“It’s their decision. I did bring it up to them because I was asked by the developer to do so. And I made the recommendation to them to consider this,” Wichita Falls ISD Superintendent Michael Kuhrt said.

The project would’ve turned the old Cresent Plaza Hotel, also known as the Petroleum Building into 55, one and two-bedroom apartment units.

According to Wichita Falls planning administrator Karen Montgomery-Gagne, Kelty needed the school board’s approval for rezoning the area in order to make the crucial March 1st tax credit deadline.

“There are a multitude of requirements that are laid out each year and set by the legislature and approved by the governor. And one of those is making sure that projects are located within service areas that meet texas education agency minimum standards,” Montgomery-Gange said.

Despite the school board’s concern over the precedent that would be created by granting the request, Kuhrt remains optimistic about future downtown development.

“Obviously a vibrant downtown is good for our community. I’ve been a part of the planning efforts for our community plan and we are members of downtown Wichita Falls, WFISD is, so we definitely want to see it developed,” Kuhrt said.

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