The City begins to plan the revitalization of the neighborhood

Wichita Falls will undertake a multi-year effort to revitalize old, declining neighborhoods in the central section of town.

The plans were formed after city staff held meetings with residents starting last September and were presented to city council on Tuesday.

The area includes neighborhoods south of Seymour Highway, west of Brook Avenue, north of Kell Freeway, and east of Kemp Boulevard. Many of the houses in these neighborhoods are centuries old. Deputy city manager Paul Menzies said 70% of homes are now rentals.

Director of Developmental Services Terry Floyd said residents’ responses ranged from broad to specific. The people who participated wanted to preserve the existing structures and trees and improve the quality of life.

As a result, Floyd offered specific suggestions to include assigning a code enforcement officer to the area and improving the property maintenance code.

“We’ve heard that a lot,” Floyd said.

The city council is considering adopting housing and urban development standards for rental properties in the central section of Wichita Falls.

Another resident complaint was about junk cars. Floyd suggested revisions to the city’s unserviceable vehicle ordinance.

“Other cities have made changes to their ordinances to help remove them instead of just verbalizing them,” he said.

He also suggested council could consider a tenancy registration program.

“There are many, many good landlords in the area. We also have landlords who do not take good care of their property.

Floyd said the rental registration program would be similar in some ways to the Section 8 coupon program and include a dedicated inspector to ensure a household’s minimum basics are met.

“Is it hot?” Does it have a source of air conditioning? Are the roofs maintained so they don’t leak or have holes? Is it rodent free? said Floyd.

He said the program would meet a standard set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Some of our facilities don’t cater to that,” he said.

The city is looking at ways to improve the central area of ​​Wichita Falls, including cutting trees near streetlights and improving Bridwell Park.

Floyd said further down the road, the city may consider a facade renovation program to improve the appearance of structures. He also said the use of federal grants had been proposed for the improvement of Bridwell Park, the region’s largest park. He said another suggestion from residents was to move tree branches away from lampposts to improve nighttime lighting.

He said the city is talking with the Wichita Falls Independent School District about the future of the Wichita Falls High School property that is located in the area and is expected to be decommissioned when two new high schools open in 2024.

Floyd’s presentation on Tuesday was informational only, and advisers took no action.

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