In what might be one of their biggest projects since its incorporation back in June of 2000, the Denver City Economic Development Corporation is making progress and moving forward on the property where the former DCISD Elementary school was once located.

Executive Director David Mitchell said the EDC conducted two Town Hall meetings to get the input from the Community on what they wanted on that property.

“It was overwhelming that people wanted more housing,” Mitchell said. “Since that last meeting in May we have been moving forward with those plans in mind. Our board as well as myself also had those same thoughts.”

At one time that property belonged to the Denver City Independent School district. Following the construction of what was then Kelley Elementary those grades, which was made up of grades 1-6 was moved to their new location in 1979.

A kindergarten building had also been built just east of the elementary building and those students were also moved to an added wing on the north side of Kelley Elementary which is now known as Dodson Primary.

At some point in time the school district deeded that land equally to Yoakum County and the City of Denver City. The once school building was then converted into a Senior Citizen building, a Denver City Museum, Precinct #2 Justice of the Peace office, driver’s license and DPS offices, and the Denver City Youth Center.

Once it was decided the facility had become an economic pitfall both entities decided it would be in the best interest to have it torn down. This took place last spring and now the 300 by 600-foot lot is ready to be occupied for a new adventure. This area is equivalent to about two city blocks.

After both the county and city split the cost of the demolition of the building, the Commissioners Court deeded their half to the city and then the City Council deeded all the property to the EDC with the understanding it would then be developed in some way.

Mitchell went on to say six developers have recently made their way to his office to discuss ideas on what to do with the land.

“We have had a good response from some developers on what do to with the land,” Mitchell said. “They had all presented plans that include garden and town houses with little or no yards to care for. Most of them also have plans for duplexes, triplexes, and even a five plex.”

Whichever developer the EDC should go with they will become owners of the homes.

“The EDC is not going into the homeowner business,” Mitchell continued. “The developer will build to sale and maybe even build to rent, like the different duplexes.”

All the developers have estimated there can be anywhere from 24 to 28 units with homes ranging in size from 1500 to 2000 square feet with each unit facing either the north or south, which is 4th and 5th streets. Avenue C is on the east side and the dialysis center is on the westside. There will be one alleyway going from east to west through the middle with no streets within the proposed area.

At this time, there are no plans for an apartment complex in that area.

Another possible undertaking for the EDC is the development of what is known as the Industrial Park, an area just south of the former McPherson Feed store and Shinnery Oaks. This is a 48-acre tract of land the EDC is hoping can be developed into an area for small businesses.

“At one time, this land was land locked, but now we have an entrance into it,” Mitchell said. “We have had some interest in this land, but nothing that is currently showing any promise.”

Another item Mitchell was asked about was the former Pizza Hut on Broadway.

“I really have no idea what’s going to happen to that property right now. It is still owned by the Pizza Hut franchise,” Mitchell said. “It would be great if some business could relocate in that building, but right now I’m not sure what will happen to it.”

And if you’re hungry the EDC will be sponsoring the first annual Yoakum County Tamale Festival the weekend of December 1-2. This will be a two-day event that will include live music, a community tamale dinner, a lighted Christmas parade, hot air balloons, vendors, a tamale eating contest, a visit from Santa Claus, and many activities for the kids.

The EDC was incorporated on June 14, 2000. The original board of directors consisted of Lee Kidd, Jerry Woosley, Barbara Qualls, Bob Banks, and June Hanneman. The City Council appoints the board members.

The current board members are Joe Kay, Bill Helwig, Charlie Espinoza, Dan Swanson, and Josh Parker.

The EDC is funded by the state sales tax. They meet twice a month, once at noon and the second meeting at 5 pm on the first and third Mondays.