Zoning realignment meetings planned for the future of downtown Wichita Falls

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX / KJTL) – The Wichita Falls Planning Division wants your help painting a picture of what downtown Wichita Falls should look like in the future, and a good way to get your voice heard is at one of the city’s upcoming downtown zoning realignment meetings.

Planning to revitalize an area the size of downtown Wichita Falls is certainly no overnight success, but instead a very long process.

Karen Montgomery-Gagne, Planning Administrator for the City of Wichita Falls, said they are finally getting the ball rolling.

“Everything from businesses, economic development to streetscapes and improvement on how we utilize the public right away through to zoning initiatives to help put the framework in place so that we can build on a better downtown,” Gagne said.

A better downtown is the goal of the city’s zoning project.

Currently, there are four existing zoning districts in place downtown. Those are the River Development District, Central Business District, Light Industrial Downtown and General Commercial Downtown, but the Planning Committee said it’s time to realize some of those districts and what uses or businesses should be allowed there.

“We’re really trying to ensure that our greater downtown is something that’s a destination, not just for people who live here, but also it’s something that attracts people from other cities,” Gagne said.

Ensuring that the new vision of downtown is inclusive to all will not be possible without participation from the public at the upcoming downtown zoning realignment meetings.

“It’s very important that we hear from property owners and tenants downtown,” Gagne said. “They have a stake in what happens, they’ve been vested in downtown – some of them for 30 and 40 years.”

All in all, Gagne said it’s time to reassess these downtown districts, so the area and this city can have continued growth and success.

“It’s exciting, really, to look out 10 to 20 years to see that the steps we’re taking today can really help project us forward to meeting what we see for downtown, and that’s a thriving location with 24/7 activities, lots of mixed uses – where you may have retail offices or upper story of buildings could be used for upper level residential – just a really fun place to be, whether it is on a Monday evening or a Saturday night, ”Gagne said.

Help the City of Wichita Falls plan a better tomorrow for downtown Wichita Falls.

The next meeting will take place Thursday, March 31, at 6 pm at the Wichita Falls Public Library. The following meeting will be on Tuesday, April 5, at 6 pm at the public library, and the last of the meetings will be Wednesday, April 6, at 6 pm at the public library.

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