Council welcomes Sixth Ave. Corridor Study, approves grant for small business development grant | News

  Council welcomes Sixth Ave.  Corridor Study, approves grant for small business development grant |  News

Councilor Amy Dzialowski said adopting the study was a good way to mark the City’s intention about implementing the plan and building public spaces.

He praised the process for developing the plan and said it was a great example of a good public process to ensure the community is adopting sound development ideas.

In other business, the Council approved on second reading an ordinance reclassifying property located at 1223 S. Husband St. from Commercial General to Small Lot Residential zoning.

The ultimate goal is to create a community that attracts and retains talent and builds economic opportunity, he said.

Story Highlights

  • The document addresses land use and transportation issues along Sixth Avenue and in the adjacent neighborhoods. It’s part of the process to prepare for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s reconstruction of State Highway 51 between Western and Perkins roads beginning in 2025.

  • Stillwater Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Alan Lovelace – acting in his role as Chairman of the advocacy group Vibrant Stillwater – urged the council to adopt the study.

Acting in their role as the trustees of the Stillwater Economic Development Authority, the Councilors approved a Small Business Enhancement Agreement with Merrifield Office Supply. The grant, which will be paid from proceeds of the Tax Increment Financing district that includes downtown, will provide $15,000 toward upgrades to the store’s facade.

Merrifield’s has been an anchor store in the 600 block of South Main Street for many year and it’s time for a refresh, Deputy City Manager Melissa Reames said.

The TIF Implementation Planning Committee has set aside $150,000 – allocated as $50,000 each year over three years – for the grants to help existing businesses. The money allocated for 2021 was not spent and is still available, she explained.

Improvements planned for the office supply store include painting, new awnings, new signage and new storefront glass. This is exactly what the Business Enhancement grants are intended to do, unlike other incentives associated with the TIF that are meant to redevelop dilapidated properties or encourage the establishment of new businesses.

“They (the grants) are generally exterior in nature and while they don’t add sales tax to the TIF pot or encourage new business, they do improve the downtown and that lifts the tax base for everybody,” Reames said. “I think it also encourages their neighbors to do and to reinvest. That was one of the objectives here.” The grant is a partnership and can only provide up to 50% of the project cost, Mayor Will Joyce explained. The total cost is estimated at $33,000.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP Its prominent location on Main Street gives it high visibility, increasing the impact, he said.