by Victor Lopez
MIDLAND-- It's not just about giving something old a new look. It's about what it means for Midland's economic future. "It served it's purpose. It's a great place, so it's just going to change the character of it, significantly," Mayor Wes Perry said.
As one chapter in the Midland downtown history book comes to a close, another begins, renovations to 25-year-old Centennial Plaza. "It will help a lot because when you have a central park, it just creates venues for people to go. So, living becomes easier. Restaurants become more successful because people pick up something and bring it to the park," Perry said.
But why stop with a lunch in the park? According to the Mayor, "If you're looking for conventions to come to town, they'll be more interested in being here, because there's this public area and obviously it enhances the courthouse."
The best part is local taxpayers won't have to shell out all of the money. The federal government is footing a large portion of the cost. "Some people say, you're against big spending but then you come and you try to get money for Texas, well, yes, you bet I am because our tax payers are paying the price for all of the spending that is going on," U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, said.
She says, this is one stimulus package she is definitely in favor of, "I disagree with some of the priorities but I'm going to make sure that Texas gets it's fair share and I think that projects like this, revitalizing a downtown, it is going to put people to work. It is stimulative. So I'm very supportive of it."
Mayor Perry says, this is a dream that's finally about to come true for the City of Midland, "It's been one of the main things we've thought about for a long time. I'm really glad we finally got this figured out how to pay for it."
On Wednesday, there were construction crews on site at Centennial Plaza. With the project expected to last about 10 months, Mayor Perry says they may have to make some adjustments for events that take place there each year.