Mineral Wells Index
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Now I’m A Believer
Readers who know me will agree that I have a very high opinion of my opinions, and for years my opinion has been that the renovation of the Baker Hotel into a functioning, economically viable hotel was a fantasy. It was too hard, too costly, too everything, and why would anyone want to come to Mineral Wells to visit in the first place?
Then I attended the annual Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce State of the Community luncheon on Jan. 31. The attendees were presented with three stories that all area residents should take to heart.
Chief of Police Dean Sullivan told the first story, reporting that the department’s innovative crime fighting efforts are in fact having a very positive impact in the city. This is great news for the entire area.
With her story, Margaret Hoogstra of Texas Forts Trail showed us that in fact, the Mineral Wells/Palo Pinto County area has a great number of attractions. While most of us locals take these attractions for granted, they are very interesting to outside visitors, hundreds of thousands of whom live within 100 miles.
The last presenter, Chad Patton, was a representative of the investment group involved in the renovation planning for the Baker Hotel. He told a story that said bringing the Baker Hotel back to life is actually doable. He pieced a puzzle together for us. Financing: It’s complicated but doable. Construction: A contractor is on board and the job is doable. Market analysis: The area can economically support the hotel. Hotel management: A well-established management company is on board.
At this point the story was getting interesting. Then Mr. Patton brought out the drawings, and that sealed the deal. The plan to have a modern Baker Hotel that appears as it did in 1930 really struck me. This is a niche that will attract both tourists who want a unique experience to combine with the varied activities available in the area, as well as groups hosting meetings/conventions that want an easily accessible, safe community with that “small town feel.”
The potential for the downtown area with the Baker Hotel alive again is limited only by one’s imagination. Needless to say, I went into the luncheon with years of skepticism regarding the Baker and came out a “true believer” in the project.
LtCol USMC (Ret),