Mineral Wells Area News

State of the Community: Mineral “Swells”

State of the Community: Mineral “Swells”
February 14
23:03 2022


By Ann Powers

Growth was the key message speakers conveyed to nearly 200 attendees during the State of the Community luncheon held at the First Baptist Church in Mineral Wells, Feb. 11. The annual event is hosted by the Mineral Wells Chamber of Commerce.

“I would say we’re seeing times like we haven’t seen in decades,” Chamber President/CEO David May said as he kicked off the occasion. “We’re doing it together, we’re supporting each other. We’re moving forward, we’re moving onward.”

Community Christian School

Community Christian School (CCS) is on the move – literally, according to the school’s administrator, Doug Jefferson. He told the crowd he had “breaking news” that the private school will be moving its campus to six buildings and property formerly occupied by Weatherford College on Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells.

Doug Jefferson, CCS School Administrator, gives updates on new campus

Jefferson said Weatherford College is gifting the facilities and land to CCS for “zero dollars.” He received the college’s permission to make the announcement about the donation just 20 minutes before the State of the Community luncheon began, he noted.

“That will eventually be where Community Christian School is located,” Jefferson said of the school currently at 2501 Garrett Morris Parkway. “Which means eventually moving to Parker County. But, we will still be considered part of the school district of Mineral Wells.”

A land survey is underway to determine the exact acreage of the donation, Jefferson told the Mineral Wells Area News in a phone interview following the luncheon. Other details area also being worked out and will be announced soon, he added.

The school’s website states it began in 1982. It is the only private school in Palo Pinto County and has more than 100 students from pre-k to 12th grade. One of those pupils, Jackson Horten, also spoke at the State of the Community event.

Senior Jackson Horton tells audience members about his CCS experience

“The most important lesson I have learned at CCS is having a servant’s heart,” he said. “To me, this is my key to having joy… Our school has a servant’s heart which I feel wears off on many of its students, which can only be good for the community of Mineral Wells.”

Horton is a senior and currently number one in his class with a 4.3 GPA. He plays football, basketball and baseball.

He will receive an associate’s degree from Weatherford College two weeks before graduating high school. He is the ninth CCS student to graduate with such a degree in the dual credit program, Jefferson said.

Baker Hotel & Spa

Next, May introduced Mark Rawlings, who is the principal of Syndicated Contracting Services and leads the constructive restoration for the 14-story Baker Hotel and Spa.

“Mark has woven himself into the fabric of Mineral Wells,” May said. “Mark is definitely one of us.”

Showing a series of images and videos related to the restoration, Rawlings led the audience through the Baker’s progress and spoke of its huge popularity on social media.

“We’re the second most followed historic hotel in America and we’re the only one not open,” he said. “And we’re quickly catching number one, so we’ll be number one before long.”

Mark Rawlings, lead contractor and investor in The Baker Hotel, gives updates on the historic hotel restoration

The other hotel is The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan.

The Baker has more than 64,200 likes on Facebook and nearly 80,000 followers on TikTok with 1.2 million likes and 20 million views in three months.

Rawlings attributes much of that following success to country music singer, William Clark Green, and his upcoming album entitled, “Baker Hotel.” Green recently made music videos in Mineral Wells to accompany songs on the album set to be released March 25.

“My favorite thing about that is hundreds, if not thousands, of people have commented on those videos saying they didn’t know about Mineral Wells before,” Rawlings said. “But, they’re coming here now.”

Image courtesy of William Clark Green (@wcgmusic) • Instagram photos and videos

He said the restoration efforts visitors can look forward to will include a ballroom, pools, belltower, spa, museum, treasure rooms and more.

“We’ve been restoring the hotel as quickly as we can with the funds that we have,” he said, noting that final funding should be in place in March. “It’s been a long time coming and we’re glad to be here.

Rawlings is also adding an incentive for residents to vote in the upcoming election. Those casting ballot will get a tour of the Baker’s ground floor and lobby. He said people can bring their ‘I voted’ sticker, or other proof, by the Baker on March 1 for a tour.

Mineral Wells Regional Airport

Closing out the event, May invited John Terrell to the podium for a report from Paslay Management Group (PMG). Terrell is a principal of the Fort Worth-based consultants hired by the City of Mineral Wells to provide strategic oversight and development planning for the 500-acre Mineral Wells Regional Airport.

“There is a broad base of opportunities in Mineral Wells on the airport for numerous types of industry,” Terrell said.

He started by informing audience members about corridors allocated for either semi-truck or tourist and residential traffic, in order to divert traffic away from housing developments.

Next, he gave an overview on firefighting plane manufacturers Bell Helicopter and Dauntless Air interested in the Mineral Wells airfield. Terrell said Bell is debating a 15,000-square-foot hangar for its Invictus 360 and 280 Osprey helicopters. He added that the company may be bringing its Autonomous Pod Transport (drones) to the county’s uncrowded air space.

John Terrell of PMG gives updates on plans for Mineral Wells Regional Airport

Terrell said vacant buildings are being considered as a trade schools for local students to learn how to repair corporate jets and gain other trade-related skills. He also said research and development jobs, aeronautic innovation and pilot training would play a big role in the airport’s contributions.

Terrell then gave a nod to Hollywood as another industry to take flight here, noting the cast and crew of “1883” had filmed in Palo Pinto County last year.

He wrapped up by saying the airport should be adorned with local art and history, letting visitors know they have definitely arrived in Mineral Wells.

“I can promise you that we are going to elevate (Mineral Wells Regional Airport) into a huge economic driver for this community,” Terrell said.

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