Welcome to Downtown
Downtown is the heart of any city, and that includes Wichita Falls. With all the great recent happenings in downtown Wichita Falls, like Odd Duck Coffee, Karat Bar & Bistro, Half Pint, the Highlander and so much more, it’s time to kick it up a notch! All seven propositions would have a positive impact on downtown. On this page we’ll focus on the two primary downtown propositions: G and D.
When you think of visiting a great city, you immediately think about their historic district; their pedestrian-friendly areas; their downtown. For Wichita Falls to become a great city, we need a great downtown. And a great downtown needs a cohesive look and feel that welcomes pedestrians, cyclists and auto traffic alike. This proposition will turn nine square blocks of downtown into a welcoming, modern downtown with a consistent design. The project includes new intersections, sidewalks, utilities, curbs, landscaping and lighting. Proposition G also includes funding for parking improvements, the expansion of Park Central and an interactive water feature.
Proposition D, the Downtown Municipal Center featuring a new City Hall, Police and Fire Department and Fire Station #1, would be the largest downtown development project Wichita Falls has ever seen. 400+ people would be working every day right across the street from McBride’s and Pat’s Drive in, and mere blocks from Odd Duck Coffee, Highlander and the rest of the downtown core. The impact this project would have on those family-owned businesses is incredible.
Memorial Auditorium was built in 1927 on the side of a hill on the site of a lake that was redirected. As grand a facility as it is, the Auditorium is facing major structural issues. Widening cracks in floors on all five levels, doors that no longer fit their openings, distressed ceiling grids, walls separating and major leakage and drainage issues plague the historic building. The wings on either side that house the stairwells and bathrooms are literally separating from the main structure. The theatre itself appears sound, but the areas of concern include nearly all of the city’s administrative offices on multiple floors of the building.
For more information click here: Memorial Auditorium Structural Update .pdf
Built in 1965 and last renovated in the mid-80’s, the police building faces much greater demands today than it did back then. The department employs nearly 100 more criminal justice professionals, and they just don’t fit. Employees are forced to work out of several off-site locations, creating inefficiencies between staff and their supervisors. Some employees even work out of storage closets! In addition, the evidence room is 100% full and needs to be expanded…and it leaks. The roof needs to be replaced, and if a visitor needs to use the restroom, a police employee must take them back to the restricted area, in the same place where witnesses and criminals are housed, and then wait while they use the facilities. Access to restrooms and to the facility in general are very difficult for those with disabilities. Overall, the building just isn’t suitable for today’s use.
Fire Station #1
Built in 1965, Fire Station #1 and the connected administrative offices house up to 27 firefighters and personnel each day. The facility isn’t ADA compliant, needs a new roof, provides the smallest living quarters per member in the entire department and can no longer fit larger modern vehicles and equipment. This station is the focal point for public tours by students and other interested groups, and does not have space to adequately host and educate them. In addition, the administrative offices do not meet today’s requirements for data safety and security, and upgrading these systems in this old facility are cost prohibitive.
Downtown Municipal Center
The new downtown municipal center would both create major efficiencies and savings in city government and transform our downtown development efforts in ways we could have only dreamed of before. This combined city hall, police and fire administrative offices, police station and fire station #1 would allow city leadership to work together much more effectively, while placing hundreds of employees just blocks, and in some cases feet, from our downtown restaurants, shops and attractions. This project would also create a safe, welcoming connection between the MPEC and its facilities and visitors and the core of our downtown. The impact to our downtown, and therefore to the entire region, cannot be understated.