The Baker Hotel, Mineral Wells, Texas

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Financial planner Chad Patton the main voice of the restoration team

May 4, 2014
Mineral Wells Index

Out front of the Baker project

Chad Patton

The story of the Baker Hotel's demise is no secret. In fact, the entire nation has heard the song time and time again. Mineral Wells has not had it the easiest, and the track record of major businesses closing feels a mile high to some.

But there is a new song being sung these days, and its writers are just normal people with big dreams for Mineral Wells.

More than 12 years ago, Laird Fairchild began driving out to Rhodes Ranch in Palo Pinto, which led him right down Hubbard Street, home of the lonesome Baker Hotel. On occasion, Chad Patton would accompany Fairchild. Through their many trips together, the "grand lady" began to cast her spell on the duo, drawing them in.

Now, she won't let them go.

Their idea to restore the Baker Hotel was officially born a little more than six years ago, of which the latest venture in the project is the 4B sales tax election.

But who is this duo and their team?

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Opinion: Vote yes not just for the Baker, but for our future

April 27, 2014
Mineral Wells Index

In the four decades the Baker Hotel has been closed, many have dreamed about restoring and reopening the grand lady with visions of bringing back what used to be for the city.

We even got excited at times because a group here or an individual there actually came up with a proposal. But each time, optimism and hopes were dashed. The project was just too massive in scope and cost for most to undertake.

Over the last few years, our hopes again rose when we learned of a team of developers from the Metroplex who were looking for a project just like the Baker Hotel and fell in love with the building. Surely, we thought, we shouldn’t get our hopes up again only to once again be led to the trough of disappointment. We have tasted that water before. We thought, “This will surely be another failed attempt, but thanks for trying.”

Now, here we stand. Beginning Monday, the people of Mineral Wells can cast a ballot to approve or deny the last piece of funding – $4 million – needed for the projected $56 million renovation project. The other funding sources have been identified. Those monies are not secured or guaranteed at this point. But “the pieces of the puzzle,” as City Manager Lance Howerton says, are identified.

The people of Mineral Wells hold one of those puzzle pieces. An important piece. In fact, should the May 10 proposition authorizing the creation of a 4B Economic Development Corporation that would dedicate one-eighth of a cent of the city’s 1.5-cent sales tax levy to an economic development fund fail, the Baker Hotel project likely fails with it.

This is the moment we have waited a long time for, and now it is upon us.

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