Community leaders stress importance of city bonds
April 24, 2018
In a matter of a few short weeks, there is an opportunity to completely reshape tone, environment and infrastructure of Wichita Falls. Those eligible to vote in the city of Wichita Falls will have the chance to vote on seven proposed bonds with significant consequences for key areas in town.
Members from the Young Professionals and the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce discussed the effects of the proposed bonds to ease any misconceptions surrounding the legislation in the Clark Student Center on April 24.
Henry Florsheim, president of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, along with Shannon Coppage, president of Young Professionals, went through each of the proposed bonds stating the bonds’ purposes and potential effects on the city and community.
“We want students to be aware of the issues that are happening around town because they will affect the students while they are here or after they graduate if they stay here, so we are trying to build a community that the students want,” Florsheim said. “If we are going to grow our workforce and help our companies find employees, we have to build a city that our future wants and that our workforce wants.”
To help better foster a more comfortable and engaging campus environment, Wichita Falls’ city community needs to be nourishing to the campus and the students. Members of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce have proposed a bond that would help revitalize downtown and make Wichita Falls a thriving environment that would attract workers and business opportunities, which is Proposition G.
Proposition G is a $22 million bond that would reshape the streetscape and infrastructure of around nine blocks in downtown Wichita Falls from 7th street to 10th street.
“As we’re trying to talk about becoming a more friendly, welcoming and vibrant city, one of our biggest issues is that our central business district looks [aging],” Florsheim said.
If the proposition were to pass, construction would update the infrastructure underneath the streets, provide new piping and electrical wiring, and would reshape the streets by repaving the roads and sidewalks, widening the roads and adding designated bike lanes.
Also adding to the culture of Wichita Falls are propositions A and B. These are aimed at improving the city’s recreational parks and trails.
The purpose of Proposition A is to further development of Wichita Falls Circle Trail by finishing construction (up to 99 percent) of the trail around the areas of Seymour Highway to Barnett Road, Loop 11 to Lucy Park and from Lake Wichita to Larry’s Marine.
“If you ever go out to Lake Wichita on a nice day, there are people all over that trail. We have a chance to finish that trail here,” Florsheim said.
What differentiates this proposition from the others is that the bond has a grant backing it that would cover 80 percent of the cost, leaving the rest of the cost left to the citizens of Wichita Falls.
Proposition B plans to finish the rest of the Wichita Falls Circle Trail from Larry’s Marine to Barnett Road and would provide a new boardwalk for Lake Wichita along with a new veterans’ memorial plaza, thus adding more vibrance to Wichita Falls.
Coppage said the point of the discussion was to alleviate a major problem surrounding the bonds, that being misinformation about the bonds.
“So much of this bond proposition is misinformation, people are misinformed. We don’t realize what the extent of the problem is, how much it will take to fix it, we just see a number, so [a lot] of that is just, ‘how much do we have to fix? What would it take to kind of fix it? What else could we do with that money that might be something that could further the development of Wichita Falls into a place that we would want to live [in more],'” Coppage said.