ARPA funds could have positive lasting impact on local economy

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX / KJTL) – With nearly $ 30 million in the City’s budget thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act, several large items have been approved for repairs and much-needed face lifts.

Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Henry Florsheim said these repairs and new projects could play a big role in attracting more visitors to Wichita Falls.

“All of these things have been on the City’s wish list for a while,” Florsheim said.

That wish list has now become a reality after the city council approved the outline of where the nearly $ 30 million in ARPA funding will go, one big item on the list is downtown streetscape street lamps with a price tag of $ 2 million.

“We’ve done so much Downtown Development work over the years and lots of new businesses doing lots of things, but where we have not made a lot of progress yet that we intend to is on the public infrastructure piece: sidewalks, light poles , that sort of thing, and so this is just the next step, ”Florsheim said.

Florsheim said the beautification of downtown can play a key role in attracting visitors, as well as improving some areas that are highly visited like Lake Wichita.

“With more people using the trail with it almost finished, with the new Vietnam Memorial Statue right next to that parking lot and now that the Veterans Plaza is going to be moved to that area as well, they’re only going to see more traffic there, ”Florsheim said. “So if we’re bringing in people from out of town to do and see these things, and we got a parking lot that’s like it was, that’s rough.”

Another item that could have a lasting impact on our economy is returfing athletic complexes, attracting more organizations to use Wichita Falls for sporting events.

“Whatever sport it is, they’re leaving money here with us when they leave, and so the better venues we’ve got for those sorts of things, whether you’re talking about MPEC or baseball fields or what the YMCA has just developed. , all of those things help us bring in more money from the outside, ”Florsheim said.

Items that may seem small to some have the potential of having a big impact in the future.

These are just a few of the items on the long list of projects being funded by ARPA. For a full breakdown, click here.

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