By TYLER MASK
Tuesday night's Mineral Wells City Council meeting – although less than seven minutes long – was based on massive amounts of planning, ending with all council members voting in favor of putting the 4B sales tax to a vote in May. If passed, the reallocation of tax dollars will play one of the final parts in funding the Baker Hotel restoration project. With all of city council on board, the fate of the Baker now rests in the hands of residents.
Through the years, Mineral Wells has witnessed a slowly decaying giant in the middle of town. One couple has literally seen the Baker Hotel fall a part from a few feet away every day – and night – for the last three decades, and they have finally had enough.
Mineral Wells natives Bryan and Laura Marsh, known around town for their two businesses, Jitter Beans Roasting Company and Down Town Video and Laser, are conveniently located just across the street from the Baker. They also live downtown, which means the 14-story building never leaves their sight.
Some may grow weary of seeing the same things everyday – this duo feels otherwise. They aren't sick of the Baker, they are just sick of watching it fall a part.
The Marshes moved downtown in 1981, and JBRC opened shop Aug. 23, 1989. Although this was after the Baker's prime, Laura Marsh remembers a time when it was still in good condition.
“We've looked at it for all these years,” she said. “I have pictures of it with windows in it.”
Despite all the obstacles the Baker has faced, the Marshes are more than hopeful for a full restoration.
“[We are] 100 percent, 103 percent, 200 percent [hopeful],” Laura Marsh said. “It is like the ultimate goal for it to be restored, and these guys know what they are doing. They have done everything. They know every in, every out. They know exactly how much this will cost. They did their homework.”