Listener: Wichita Falls leaders will not accepting of voters’ decision

Dear Mr. Pratt,

I am referencing the Wichita Falls Time Record News of Thursday, August 9, 2018.

“City of Wichita Falls leaders said they are aiming for “compliance” rather than enforcement during a plan to improve downtown sidewalks.”

The Wichita Falls Downtown Steering Committee aims to hold downtown businesses responsible for fixing sidewalks and maintaining trees.

Assistant City Manager Paul Menzies said that current laws require property owners to ensure maintenance from their property line to the curb, including any sidewalk or trees in that area. At the discretion of the public works director, Mr. Menzies said further that the city can enforce the law if the sidewalk has as little as a one inch deflection.

A sidewalk project, said Mr. Menzies, could cost between $1,000 and $4,000. He did say the 4B program MIGHT be able to be “bumped up” to  give established downtown business owners up to $5,000 toward improvements, but the overall cap is $50,000 annually.

Now, Mr. Pratt, you might agree that downtown business owners should take some responsibility for the upkeep of sidewalks and trees and in a prosperous and thriving downtown, your would be right.

But, downtown Wichita Falls, was not so long ago, a ghost town with few tenants and few business owners who were enthused enough to invest in the mostly empty buildings, many that were derelict.

Through great efforts, the downtown has begun a restoration of sorts, with several small businesses taking a chance on a revitalization effort. Most of these businesses are not wealthy and for them to contribute up to $5000 to fix sidewalks and maintain trees would cause some, maybe many, to close shop and once again, leave downtown.

Perhaps I am wrong.

However, the most damning statement to me in this article was this:

“After the failure of  a bond that would have added millions of dollars toward downtown improvements, he said (Menzies) city staff reviewed the current city code concerning sidewalks and trees.”

If you remember, HAD the bonds passed, then several small business owners would have had to be re-located (or pushed out altogether) to make way for the new municipal complex.

It appears to this citizen that city leaders have decided to NOT walk the walk of acceptance of the will of the people, but to trip them up on the crooked and broken sidewalks of their  own dreams.

Sincerely,
[Name known to Pratt on Texas]
Wichita Falls (not so proud citizen)

Comments

  1. Yes, this behavior is par for the course. During the height of the last drought, I took some pen and paper, measuring tape, measuring stick, and a stopwatch, and measured how much water was flowing by in the Wichita River. Being a registered and licensed Engineer, I am certified by the State of Texas as competent enough to make these measurements and calculations. I signed up for a five minute open mic slot at the next city counsel, and presented my results. That there was enough water flowing by in the Wichita River, to provide enough water to the entire area, and leave a sizable portion of the water still in tact to flow down stream. Boy, did they ever get hot under the collar and huffy. They stated they had their own study done, and that my numbers were horribly exaggerated. I could have understood if they had just said, there are inter-state and inter-municipality agreements that affect our ability to use the Wichita River for water, but instead they went with the City Hall Tyrant approach- “We’re right-our experts are smarter than you- and you’re just an insignificant single voter. Don’t mess with our plans!”

    I am glad I live outside of city limits.

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