WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — With downtown Wichita Falls flourishing more than ever, Downtown Wichita Falls Development officials, along with the Landmark Commission, are coming together in hopes of creating a new historic district downtown.
There’s no doubt that downtown Wichita Falls isn’t thriving right now, and although there are still a few vacant buildings here and there, Executive Director for Downtown Wichita Falls Development Jana Schmader said creating an additional historic district could help bring those vacant buildings back to life.
“Those buildings inside for developers coming in, the goal is to actually rehab them and restore them as close to the original that they were, so when we get into terms of historic preservation, which is a huge part in Downtown Development’s mission, this is such a great tool in order to help people get there,” Schmader said.
Schmader said it’s important to preserve as much of the downtown history as they can.
“It’s one of the many things we do, but it’s the most important thing that we do,” Schmader said. “Downtowns are built by revitalization. We don’t do a lot of new construction in downtown. If we find a site, then we can certainly do it, but it’s all about the history. You know, we’re sitting inside of a building that was built back in 1898, and we were able to save it and turn it into something great, and that is what makes downtown so eclectic and so fun.”
Schmader said if the vote passes, the new historic district, which will be Indiana Avenue from 9th Street to 10th Street, could be beneficial for bringing in new developers.
“When we’re getting into the development process, then we’re able to counsel them through or direct them to the right people for tax credits,” Schmader said. “So that’s up to 45% with state and federal tax credits for reinvestment in your development.”
Schmader said this nomination was backed by tons of community support.
“Of course, we talked to all of these property owners who are going to be grandfathered into this district, and they were all super positive about the opportunity to support it and participate in it, and they just see the opportunities that could come available to them as property owners,” Schmader said.
The Texas Historical Commission will go in front of the State Board Saturday, May 21, with all of the information regarding that district and will take a final vote before going to the National Parks Service.