The unmanned aircraft trend is growing, he said, adding, “Mineral Wells is right in the middle of that.”
Howerton noted the arrival of several retailers over the past year, such as Sutherland’s, Hibbett’s Sports, Steele’s, and Old School Pizza, each of which repurposed a vacant space for their business.
“We at the city are very encouraged about the things we’re seeing,” he said.
Focusing on areas for improvement, Howerton pointed to the recently introduced initiative to create a citywide minimum housing code to focus on declining structures. He said the city has already been focusing on code enforcement within existing ordinance guidelines, issuing numerous citations for infractions, though the new code would allow city staff to more adequately deal with homes in a state of disrepair.
He said renovating the city’s neighborhoods and residential structures would entice more Mineral Wells employees to live in the community rather than commute from other areas.
Project 365, introduced by Mineral Wells Police Chief Dean Sullivan last year, is another initiative designed to both reduce crime in troubled neighborhoods and bring those areas of the city to a higher standard.
Howerton lamented a perceived lack of skilled labor in the city, noting several potential industrial projects have failed to materialize because of such concerns.
MWISD Superintendent Gail Haterius
Focusing on the unique needs of the local public school system, Mineral Wells Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Gail Haterius presented an overview of what the district is doing to better serve the city’s students.
A newcomer to the district, Haterius succeeded Dr. Ronny Collins in 2012.
“The world is changing and we have to change as educators,” she said.
A chief concern is delivering engaging lessons to students preoccupied with the latest technological gadgets, she explained.
“These kids just have withdrawal without their technology,” she added, noting district teachers must “meet our kids where they need to be met.”