Downtown Wichita Falls hotel plan takes next step

The city of Wichita Falls continues to move closer to bringing a new DoubleTree hotel to downtown.

Monday the 4B Board received progress presentations on the hotel and convention center.

They also reached an agreement for more parking areas to be built. The current design allows for 150 rooms with space to add 100 more rooms if needed.

A public hearing will be held on Monday, May 1st to discuss a possible $11.1 million loan to help with construction.

A time for this meeting has not been set.

City officials said this loan would not result in a raise in taxes for residents because this money would come from taxes they already pay into the 4B Board.

Career Education Center


The Wichita Falls Independent School District’s board members got an update on the Career Education Center at Tuesday’s Special Session.

Peter Griffiths, WFISD’s Associate Superintendent, said things are moving along and Oncor should have the building’s power on this week.

Griffiths said even though the electricity was expected to be turned on April 7th, the district is still on target to have the furniture in the new campus by mid-July.

Architects said they are trying to stay on top of things and are bringing in extra crews. About 120 people are on site daily.

However, the architects do admit there is no room for any hiccups.

On May 15th at 3:30 p.m. the school board members will get a walk thru to see the progress.

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After Hours Art Walk

Growing the downtown; that has been one of the biggest goals the city of Wichita Falls has been working to achieve.

Thursday, they did just that, as people filled the streets for the 2nd annual After Hours Art Walk.

Businesses and art studios in downtown Wichita Falls are calling themselves the art district and worked together to pull off this kickoff event.

Dozens of local artists like, Cindy Kahler Thomas, filled the sidewalks on Ohio Avenue giving them the chance to share their talents with others in the community.

Audra Lambert, President of the Wichita Falls Art District, told us she was overwhelmed by the support and is amazed at how fast this event has grown in just one year.

If you missed out tonight do not worry, this will be an ongoing monthly event, held on the first Thursday of the month from now until October.

Deli Planet in Wichita Falls to have outdoor food vendors


Deli Planet in Wichita Falls will have “Food Truck Takeovers” every weekend beginning this summer.

But it is something that would not have been possible without city leaders making provisions to the original ordinance on Tuesday.

Rebecca Rutledge owns the restaurant near Sheppard Air Force Base.

She and her husband also have a food truck and a dream to expand.

Thanks to the help from the city, it will become a reality.

“We were ecstatic to see a unanimous vote come across today,” Rutledge said. “It was really nice to know that all the hard work paid off.”

Councilors voted to have provisions made to the original ordinance so businesses can apply on a case-by-case basis.

“It gives opportunities to existing brick and mortar restaurants if they would like to start to have a mobile food truck for special events,” Planning Administrator, Karen Montgomery-Gagne said. “Or to consider an outdoor food court. It also provides opportunities, more attractions, for people to come to Wichita Falls.”

With many changes coming to the city, Rutledge wants to jump on board.

“We want to be a part of the changing and the newness, the younger crowds and our airmen,” Rutledge said. “We want to give them a place to not be so bored in Wichita Falls. Some place to go and hangout and spend your day.”

Mayor, Stephen Santellana, believes it could be huge for not just Deli Planet.

“We talk about those quality-of-life things all the time,” Santellana said. “This is something that they want. Not just a dining option, but something that’s a little cool for the city of Wichita Falls. It gives them something else to do.”

“I am just excited to be part of these changes to the city,” Rutledge said. “And I hope everyone else embraces it and supports all the new things that are coming our way.”

Mayor Santellana said the city has put a lot of effort into this food truck provision and want to continue to be progressive in their thinking and decisions moving forward.

Wichita Falls city leaders continue proactive approach on strategic plan


Two weeks ago, some Wichita Falls city officials expressed concern about how proactive the city would be in implementing their strategic plan.

On Tuesday councilors took two steps towards making it their top priority.

Two resolutions were passed.

One is endorsing participation from the 4B board and Economic Development board in an economic development strategy plan.

The second will create a downtown development steering committee.

City leaders are encouraged by the progress.

“Strategic planning is important because if you don’t take the time to look at where you are going, a lot of times you can get distracted and start working on things that may not be as high a priority,” Deputy City Manager, Jim Dockery said.

“Now we are on the same sheet of music,” Mayor, Stephen Santellana said. “I would call it sweet, sweet downtown music. We are going to be able to press forward with a nice, crisp, clean, concise, strategic plan with all members.”

The downtown steering committee will consist of 11 members from groups that play a large role into downtown.

They will meet regularly for the next 18 months.