WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It was a busy day for the Wichita Falls City Council during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Welcoming Larry Nelson

City Council welcomed new District 2 Councilor Lary Nelson while also swearing-in two incumbents.

Taking over for outgoing Councilor and Mayor Pro-tem DeAndra Chenault, Nelson received 57% of the vote in the election two weeks ago.

While At-Large Councilor Bobby Whiteley and District 1 Council Michael Smith were sworn for another term.

Term lengths are now a year longer so you’ll see these three on council for the next three years.

Improvements to Memorial Auditorium

Council also unanimously approved a resolution to move forward with improvements to the Memorial Auditorium west wing.

Trinity Hughes LLC was awarded the bid and contract to this project which has an almost $1.8 million price tag.

Assistant City Manager Blake Jurecek gave a presentation on some of the problems on the interior and exterior that will only continue to persist if not taken care of soon and you can already see some cones set up outside City Hall.

Backdoor/Kemp Center funding

Thanks to the 4B Board and City Council’s approval, two local non-profits are getting a much needed boost in funding.

Backdoor Theatre, which has undergone major renovations since a pipe burst and flooded the entire building, will receive little more than $104,000 to assist in fire suppression system repairs. The Arts Council of Wichita Falls will see $120,000 for renovations to the Kemp Center for the Arts.

“To be able to support the nonprofits and the arts at the same time is really great for the city of Wichita Falls. And the 4B Board had some good questions and actually brought a couple of them back with some more answers and I think it’s something we can easily support and it’ll help bolster them and keep these events going. And when we talk about downtown revitalization, they play a big part in that,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said.

City Clerk award

One of the city of Wichita Falls’ own was recognized statewide for her above and beyond work.

City Clerk Marie Balthrop is front and center at every City Council meeting, taking notes among many other things, along with, in their own words, being a lifeline to the mayor and council.

And Balthrop’s work doesn’t go unnoticed as the Texas Municipal Clerks Association named her the 2021 Texas Clerk of the Year. This is just the third time a city of Wichita Falls clerk has won. Once in 2006 and another time back in the 80s.