By TODD GLASSCOCK
James Siegler came out of the Palo Pinto County Annex in Mineral Wells on Saturday with hope that a “big, old grand building” will have a grand future.
The “grand building” in question, the Baker Hotel, will have a promising future, as Mineral Wells voters passed a 4B sales tax proposition to allocate $4 million in public funds from sales tax revenues to be dedicated to a $56.2 million hotel restoration project. Final but unofficial votes totaled 1,623 with 65 against, a 96 percent margin of victory.
“I'm ready to see it,” said Vince Anderson, who voted for the proposition. “I've been wanting the Baker redone for a long time.”
Felechia Johnson, who also voted for the proposition, said the time had come for the Baker's restoration. She has lived in Mineral Wells all her life and saw it when it was in good shape and looks forward to seeing it come back to life, adding it will be something that will benefit future generations as well.
“I feel like this is needed,” she said, “and it's something that the city can afford.”
Siegler said he also voted for the proposition and saw its value to the city. He has lived in Mineral Wells since 1968 and recalled the hotel's last years before it was shut down. He said he ate in the café, and liked to have coffee there; he occasionally sipped a scotch in the hotel's bar.
“If I had won the lottery it would be mine,” said Barbara Kimbrell, who voted early for the hotel, and waited with a giddy crowd outside the hotel to hear election results from Mayor Mike Allen. “I always wanted to buy it.”
She said she joked with her husband that she would leave nursing to work at the hotel.