Rotary Club of Mineral Wells on Wednesday welcomed City Manager Randy Criswell to talk about some of the projects occurring or planned. He is pictured above with program chair for the day Tanya Lukas.


Criswell, who came to Mineral Wells from Canyon 10 months ago, said housing, jobs and infrastructure continue to be the focus going forward.


There is plenty of good news on the housing front. For one, the new market-rate townhomes project adjacent to Mineral Wells Junior High School is progressing rapidly and cold be complete by early summer, offering upscale one- to three-bedroom residential units.


Criswell said the city has been in discussion with other potential new housing developers. He believes more new residential construction could soon begin in the near future.


"They are waiting to see who dips their toes in first," said Criswell.


Asked by one Rotarian about residential infill – new construction within the city's established neighborhoods – Criswell said there is some of that occurring but for the most part he said developers want to build new areas where they have greater control of the properties.


Jobs and commercial development around Mineral Wells Regional Airport are also a focus of the city's new economic development effort led by Economic Development Director (and fellow Rotarian) David Hawes. Criswell said the city wants to be selective in what companies or manufacturers are recruited or offered incentives to come to Mineral Wells. He said the city is interested in well-paying jobs that will help attract new residents and families.


Criswell said while jobs and housing are important to economic and population population growth, he said most people and families look at a community's offerings related to quality of life – schools, medical, recreational, shopping – in choosing where to live.


A secret to no one, he said the city's streets and utilities infrastructure are in poor shape, not unlike most cities. But Mineral Wells' infrastructure is especially in need of repairs and improvements. He said it would cost tens of millions of dollars to repair utility lines and streets. Hopes are economic development growth will create revenue that can lessen the financial impacts of infrastructure repairs.


Criswell said local residents can expect to see continued development and projects going forward.


Rotary Club of Mineral Wells meets at noon Wednesdays at Palo Pinto General Hospital for lunch, socializing, updates on club news and events and a program of interest. Meetings are for members, invited guests and prospective members.