Support the Downtown Development Steering Committee’s work to create a favorable environment for investment in Downtown Wichita Falls

Recommendations:

• Continue to build community support for the work of the Downtown Development Steering Committee

• With the Committee and other downtown stakeholders, evaluate whether participation in the Main Street America program would be advantageous for Downtown Wichita Falls

• Enlist a wide range of downtown stakeholders and community partners to amplify the group’s findings and recommendations and build a “business case” for why investment in Downtown Wichita Falls is important for the entire community, not just the neighborhood itself

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UPDATES: 
Will be posted here as progress is reported.

Create professional “economic development” staff capacity dedicated to grow investment and increase quality of place in Downtown

Recommendations:
• Identify or create a staff position devoted primarily to promoting development, redevelopment, and private investment in Downtown Wichita Falls to complement existing marketing staff capacity

• Retain an individual with significant experience in leading a downtown or community development organization; task the new staff person with serving as the “point person” for all things related to downtown development

• Seek to incentivize the development of new housing and supportive neighborhood retail (e.g. pharmacy, grocery, dry cleaning, etc.) in Downtown Wichita Falls; continue work with the Downtown Development Steering Committee to optimize zoning and development regulations and examine all available incentive options to support this development

• Work with economic development staff and others to identify developers interested in creating residential product in Downtown Wichita Falls

• Create an inventory of all “second-floor” spaces (essentially, all space available in downtown buildings above street level) to identify opportunities to create new residential spaces in existing buildings; this would ensure that potential developers are connected to all available incentive opportunities, including historic tax credits, etc.

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UPDATES: 
Will be posted here as progress is reported.

Establish a business improvement district (BID) to fund downtown infrastructure upgrades

Recommendations:
• Convene representatives from City of Wichita Falls and downtown property owners to establish a BID (sometimes referred to as a public improvement district) to fund infrastructure improvements; this could potentially also fund services such as public safety and beautification

• If appropriate, leverage BID revenue to catalyze redevelopment by defraying development costs associated with hardscapes, parking infrastructure, utility upgrades, and/or relocations, etc.

– Note: the Downtown Development Steering Committee’s finance subcommittee is evaluating a BID as one potential option for funding improvements in Downtown Wichita Falls identified through the Committee

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UPDATES: 
Will be posted here as progress is reported.

Continue to pursue the development of a hotel adjacent to the Kay Yeager Coliseum and MPEC to further activate the facilities

Recommendations:
• Continue to convene relevant stakeholders including elected and appointed officials, economic development professionals, and representatives from the Wichita Falls Convention & Visitors Bureau to seek the development of a hotel that would make the community and its facilities more attractive for meetings, conventions, and other events

• Continue to work with accommodation industry experts and development professionals to identify potential private-sector partners and evaluate the need for public participation in the project

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UPDATES: 
Will be posted here as progress is reported.

Launch a multi-faceted marketing strategy for Downtown Wichita Falls

Recommendations:
• Convene partners including the Downtown Wichita Falls Development organization, the CVB, downtown business and property owners, and others to advance the effort

• Retain a communications firm with significant experience in place-based marketing to craft a brand identity for Downtown Wichita Falls and develop and execute a multi-channel marketing strategy for Wichita Falls; potential components of the strategy could include social media, targeted online advertisements, and advertisements in traditional media outlets in nearby markets

• The campaign should also include an earned media component that seeks to seed positive stories about Downtown Wichita Falls in respected media outlets; earned media is generally coverage that is “won” as opposed to “bought” and is regarded as highly credible – and in many cases more cost-effective than other forms of external marketing

• Work with the CVB to pursue conventions and meetings that would likely increase patronage of downtown businesses

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UPDATES: 
Will be posted here as progress is reported.