By Paul Gonzales

Mathis News editor

MATHIS – 2016 has been an interesting year for Mathis. The town has had a famous heavy metal band crash their tour bus here, had quit a few fires, got cozy with some Alpacas, a young woman was murdered and left here, and then there was that bomb scare that evacuated downtown.

But the one thing that continued to stand out was the city of Mathis itself.

The Mathis Economic Development Cooperation was formed nearly two years ago and, slowly but surely, the residents are seeing some results.

In 2016, downtown has undergone a few cosmetic changes and a few new businesses have moved in, most notably the adult center which, once filled to capacity, will offer a few more higher paying jobs locally. But with 2017 peeking over the horizon, the Mathis EDC has much more to deliver to the city.

The EDC owns three buildings downtown which are in the early renovating process but should ramp up early next year. The plan is to clean and renovate the buildings before putting them on the market with an eye towards bringing  new businesses to the area.

But its the downtown revitalization project that’s got Mathis gearing up for some major changes in the new year. Sometime between January and March, Mathis will either get good or bad news from the Texas Department of Agriculture about a $250,000 matching grant which will fund the city’s plans to fix sidewalks, add trees and shrubs and make downtown Mathis look the way its residents always wanted it to. 

Just a few weeks ago, the Mathis EDC was visited by some city planners who showcased designs they had completed in other towns similar to Mathis, but they are adamant about getting residents thoughts and insights before any plans are set in place.

“Right now this looks like it’s a project that would meet the budget for the grant, and once you get the grant awarded, we can go in and start the final design,” Mathis EDC director Dough Dowler said in a recent interview.

The EDC also has plans in the very near future to apply for more grants to continue building on what they hope will get started soon.

At a recent council meeting, Mayor Ciri Villarreal said, “I’m all for it. It’s a dream coming true.”

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