By Barbara Manson | Special to the Index
A group of citizens and Mineral Wells city officials were invited to tour Grapevine, Texas, to see the changes that have been made during the last decade and hear about some of the programs that helped the Grapevine area become a tourist Mecca. This writer was invited by David Klempin, Grapevine Historic Preservation Director, to bring the group from Mineral Wells to see what projects utilized by Grapevine might be applicable to our community.
The work of the Grapevine Heritage Foundation and its partners was reviewed by David Klempin and an [associate]. A meeting was then convened in the boardroom of the Palace Arts Center with P.W. McCallum, Executive Director of the Convention and Visitor Bureau, and Assistant City Manager Jennifer Hibbs. McCallum has been in his position at Grapevine 20 years and has been instrumental in the growth of its tourist industry.
He explained the importance of getting all city service organizations, city departments and public service institutions to work together on a unified goal. He shared with the group one of his early problems of getting everyone to embrace the city Brand, “GRAPEVINE.”
He went on to say that our task in Mineral Wells in selecting a brand should be much easier. “Mineral Water,” he continued to say – who hasn’t heard, even in Grapevine, of the Baker Hotel, Crazy Water and Woody’s.
Obviously, because of Grapevine’s location and larger tax revenues, major projects have been possible. He proceeded to point out that much of their Heritage Foundation’s work has been supported by local donations and support from the festivals held in Grapevine.
Mineral Wells’ heritage is well known and can be the nucleus for tourist revitalization.
The group then proceeded with a walking tour of Ted R. Ware Plaza, which is a collection of turn-of-the-century homes that have be moved to the plaza, restored and opened as museums covering the history of Grapevine.
The tour continued with a walk down main street. Klempin pointed out that the city has maintained the turn-of-the-century look for all store fronts, even if an old building had been torn down and replaced. There were no vacant or for lease store fronts on main street Grapevine.
The walking tour culminated with lunch at Tolbert’s Restaurant, a well-known Dallas eatery famous for its chile. The restaurant was moved to Grapevine by Kathleen Tolbert Ryan. Kathleen’s father, Frank Tolbert, founded the famous Terlingua chili cook-off.
After lunch the Grapevine Tourism bus picked up the group for a tour of the city. Klempin pointed out the various heritage preservation districts and how the properties have been renovated maintaining the look of the period. Home values have increased tremendously in these renovated heritage preservation districts. The last stop on the tour was the Nash Farm which was secured and restored to preserve the farming history of Grapevine.
After a question and answer time at the Convention and Visitors Headquarters, the Public Transit Service arrived and drove the delegation back to Mineral Wells They were Bill Bennett, Lisa Huffaker, Mayor Mike Allen, City Manager Lance Howerton, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ryan Roach, President of the Art Association Becky Hott, artist Carol Noeding and Barbara Manson.