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ARPA funds could have a positive and lasting impact on the local economy

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

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

“All of these things have been on the city’s wish list for some time,” said Florsheim.

That wish list has now become a reality after City Council approved the blueprint for where the nearly $30 million in ARPA funds will go. A big item on the list are streetlights in the downtown streetscape with a price tag of $2 million.

“We’ve done so much work for downtown development over the years and a lot of new companies have done a lot of things, but where we haven’t made a lot of progress that we intend to do is public infrastructure: sidewalks, light poles, that sort of thing.” , and that’s just the next step,” Florsheim said.

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Florsheim said downtown beautification could play a key role in attracting visitors and improve some high-traffic areas like Lake Wichita.

“As more people use the trail, which is almost complete, with the new Vietnam memorial statue right next to this parking lot, and now that Veterans Plaza is also being moved to this area, they’re only going to see more traffic there,” Florsheim said . “So when we invite people from out of town to do and see these things and we get a parking lot like it was, it’s difficult.”

Another issue that could have a profound impact on our economy is the re-vegetation of sports facilities, which will encourage more organizations to use Wichita Falls for sporting events.

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

Things that may seem small to some have the potential to make a big impact in the future.

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

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