The Dumas City Commissioners voted in their regular meeting Tuesday to approve incentive packages offered to two local businesses by the Dumas Economic Development Corporation (DEDC) that will help bring virtual reality sports simulator games and a craft brewery to Dumas. Both businesses requested the assistance from the DEDC. The vote was unanimous, and no one spoke in opposition.
The commissioners unanimously approved a payment not to exceed $100,000 over a five-year period to Darren Goodheart, owner of 287 Roadhouse, to help him remodel his restaurant on Dumas Avenue and convert an open patio into a room for virtual reality sports simulator games. As part of the package, the commissioners granted Goodheart a tax rebate of 75 percent, not to exceed $100,000, on future increases in sales taxes resulting from the expansion of his business. The tax breaks would last for the five-year term of the agreement. DEDC Executive Director Michael Running told commissioners that 287 has been a successful business for 10 years and is now the "largest sales tax generating full-service restaurant in the city." Running said the total of Goodheart's investment would be in excess of $380,000, and the potential financial benefits to the city in terms of increased employment and increased sales and property taxes could be substantial. Goodheart has a similar restaurant in Amarillo that he added the simulators to. He told the DEDC Board of Directors earlier in the month that the restaurant's revenues had increased by $100,000 from the simulators alone in the first year after their installation. He said one of the main reasons he was requesting the assistance was that the large investment in Dumas was risky compared to the larger market in Amarillo. Nothing like what he is proposing exists in the Panhandle north of Amarillo, he said. The DEDC would monitor the project under the terms of a performance agreement for five years.
Running said the DEDC has identified entertainment and accommodations as industries that the corporation is interested in promoting in Dumas. He said the increased entertainment opportunities could increase the number of travelers stopping in Dumas and help divert back home some of the Dumas residents who travel to Amarillo for food and entertainment. The DEDC Board of Directors voted, with no dissenting voices, to approve the incentive package in their regular meeting July 8.
The commissioners also unanimously voted to approve a payment, not to exceed $25,000, to J. L. and Ashleigh Wiswell to remodel the old Phillips and Son building that sits on the corner of Dumas Avenue and 7th Street and turn it into a craft brewery. The project would be monitored for performance for three years, and the Wiswells would be enrolled in the Business Growth and Development program of the DEDC to provide them with advice and other assistance in establishing the business. The couple owns a craft brewery in Trinidad, Colorado, that has been successful, Running told the commissioners on Tuesday. With the recent change in the Texas law that required craft brewers to sell their beer for offsite consumption through large distributors, craft brewers in Texas have a greater chance of making a profit, so the Wiswells would like to move their business to Dumas, closer to home. They are calling it the Dozwell Brewing Company, and their total initial investment in Dumas would be around $450,000.
Running told the commissioners that the brewery would have a positive economic impact on Dumas. All of the local liquor stores have agreed to carry their product, and there is potential for the business to grow. In addition to producing beer, the Wiswells will operate a beer garden at the location in conjunction with Main Street Sweets that will make use of rotating food trucks to provide food. On July 8, the DEDC Board of Directors unanimously approved the project. Running said the project would provide more entertainment opportunities for Dumas residents, promote business in downtown Dumas, and return to service a building on Dumas Avenue that has been empty and unused for a considerable period of time, something the DEDC has long tried to promote. No one spoke against the project.
In other DEDC business on Tuesday, the commissioners voted unanimously and without opposition to approve Community Development Grants to be awarded by the DEDC to seven local non-profit organizations for projects designed to promote the quality of life in Moore County. All seven had been approved by the DEDC Board of Directors. The organizations receiving grants were: the American Legion, $1,609.00 to install roofing for shooting lanes at their range; Cowboy Classic Rodeo Association, $1,200.00 to purchase a livestock waterer; Dumas Downtown Association, $1,600.00 to purchase vinyl window stickers to cover windows in vacant downtown buildings; Dumas Education and Social Ministries, $3,891.00 to purchase computers and printers for English as a Second Language classes and for the food pantry inventory; Moore County Development, $1,600.00 to purchase a computer, printer, desk, and cabinet for the office; Moore County Livestock Association, $16,900.00 to purchase livestock pens; and Storybridge, $2,200 to purchase cargo trailer to store and distribute free books to elementary school children in the Dumas Independent School District.
The commissioners also voted unanimously to pass the new fiscal year budgets for the Moore County Art Association, Window on the Plains Museum, and the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce. The commissioners approved $121,560.00 for the art association, $155,063.00 for the museum, and $250,000 for the chamber.
The commissioners voted to spend $15,000 to purchase a gas analyzer for the gas department, approved the investment policy of the city with one significant change: the city in the future will maintain a minimum fund balance to fund city operations for 60 to 90 days in case of emergency.
Finally, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve an ordinance regulating auto related businesses. This was the first reading of the proposed ordinance. If it passes the second reading during the next commissioners' meeting, it will go into effect. The ordinance requires such businesses to maintain minimum standards of order and cleanliness.