WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls City Council met Tuesday morning to discuss numerous topics, including the approval of the new Land O’Lakes facility.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s meeting:
Approved in Wichita Falls City Council Tuesday, the incentives the Land O’Lakes Incorporated to make expansions to their local subsidiary Winfield Solutions.
They anticipate making a jump from eight to 16 employees but many involved in this process say it goes way beyond extra jobs.
The added jobs will bring the total annual payroll over $900,000 and now officially include the construction of a 100,000-square-foot facility with the intent of purchase upon completion out at the Wichita Falls Business Park.
Councilor Bobby Whiteley says the Economic Development Corporation has taken necessary steps out at the business park that may be paying off sooner than previously thought.
“Back when we were discussing the cost of infrastructure out there at the business park, those decisions were not taken lightly. There was some trepidation there about spending that much money out at the business park, but I agree with Paul [Menzies] that this is coming back to help us much sooner than we anticipated so welcome, thank you,” Whiteley said.
The intention for the new facility would be a crop input warehouse for Winfield Solutions from all those crop inputs to storage and distribution all coming from that facility.
Veterans Memorial Plaza official home
Also made official, Lake Wichita will be the permanent home for the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
And like the original plan, the plaza will be reunited with the Daughter of the American Revolution’s current Vietnam Veterans Statue out at Lake Wichita Park.
The only difference is when all this started years ago the plan was to have them at the Lake Wichita boat ramp. But after the pandemic and other hurdles, the Lake Wichita Revitalization Committee finally has its home for the Veterans Memorial Plaza.
For those who have been along this long ride, like Steve Garner, they couldn’t be more excited to bring these projects back together.
“There is a lot of community sharing and using of that and we as a committee feel like if we have the Veterans Memorial Plaza together with the Vietnam Veterans statue, that it will make a beautiful one place for people to go to as opposed to having one on the East side of the lake and one on the West side. It just makes sense to have two projects better than one,” Garner said.
Along with that new addition, the current parking lot at the park and statue is already in line to get a complete overhaul. That’s thanks to previously approved items by council.
Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall update
As the city continues seeing that new hotel and convention center constructed, yhey will look to make some upgrades of their own at the Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall!
Council approved unanimously $95,000 worth of renovations that will keep the exhibit hall up to date with the new facilities being built across the parking lot.
Assistant City Manager Blake Jurecek says entering an agreement with the same architect working on the new convention center will make the 25-year-old, 58,000-square-foot space hold up.
“The idea is, that when we renovated the interior of the exhibit hall, that it has kind of the same look and feel of the convention center. Obviously, they’re built at different times, there’s a little bit different architect work but we’re going to do what we can to make them flow,” Jurecek said.
“Most of us have been to Ray Clymer for an event, if not multiple events, it certainly has served its purpose at this particular stage in the development, but it’s time to up the ante a little bit.”
They are eyeing upgrades to floors, bathrooms, lighting, and other things they run into through the venue bond tax.
National Cowboy Month preview
With this being the last City Council meeting of the month in Wichita Falls, a proclamation was made for National Cowboy Month coming up in a couple weeks!
By the crowd of cowboys from around the city there, they are eager to get this whole month underway!
Those representatives were with the Texas Ranch Roundup, Cowboy True, and PRCA Rodeo, along with plenty other attendees!
Local doctor Robert Parkey was wearing a different hat than usual this morning and touched on how being nestled between the Chisolm Trail and the great western trail, Texoma became ground zero for the cowboy and the rancher. Even dating back to 1882, his maternal twice-great-grandfather set up a ranch on Holliday Creek just south of MSU.
“I say this only to give one families example on how deep the ranching and cowboy roots run in this area. Through this year and into the next, our community will have the opportunity to continue the celebration of this proud cowboy tradition and our heritage,” Parkey said.
Parkey is referring to the Texas Ranch Roundup celebrating their 40 years with the all-weekend event on July 15 and July 16.
Tickets are on sale for the 2022 Wichita Falls PRCA Rodeo at the Kay Yeager Coliseum on the weekend of August 19 and August 20.
City of Wichita Falls PIO Office update
Thanks to grant money, the city of Wichita Falls Public Information Studio is set to get some major upgrades!
Right now, City Public Information Officer Chris Horgen says they are working the original WF-TV Studio that is a one program setting with little to no other options on what else they can produce in that space.
After the remodel, which the city plans on using Nelco Media out of San Antonio, Horgen anticipates them being able to utilize the whole space in a few different ways that can benefit the public even more.
A solution to a problem that Director of Marketing Lindsay Barker adds is years in the making.
“Different ways that we inform the public, the different methods, platforms, mediums that we use, and through that evaluation a need was identified to remodel what we call our PIO studio,” Barker said.
“One of the nicest things about this I think is that it gives us the ability to go live, should we have an emergency or need to get information out quickly,” Horgen said.
Through a little more than $150,000 in grants, Nelco Media will provide audio and video equipment, lighting, set design and construction, plus installation and training.
9th Street elevated tank
A bid and contract was awarded so work can finally get underway on the 9th Street elevated tank replacement project.
For the $4.5 million price tag, Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors LLC, the 500,000 gallon tower that was built in 1920 will be replaced.
In addition to the action, councilors also approved a just over $775,000 bid and contract to KLA Adams Construction for the level control and yard piping needed for the replacement.
After identifying these problems last November, Director of Public Works Russell Schreiber says they need to get moving on this.
“We really need to get rid of the 9th Street tank before it gives us more problems. We do think we can construct this while the old tank remains in service, which is a great benefit to us, but we would like to move forward with this as quickly as possible,” Schreiber said.
The city will pay for this project out of the water fund so the funds are there for projects just like this.
The new tank will triple in size and will be erected and replaced right there in that same spot on 9th Street.