The Henryetta Economic Development Authority (HEDA) approved funding a new water line on the east end of Main and Trudgeon Monday morning.
When finished some 2,000 feet of 12 and 14-inch water line would be installed replacing an existing live feeding the east water towers. The estimated cost of the project would be $398,250.
Public works director Ron Casey said QuikTrip has plans to start construction at the end of July.
He said QuikTrip would be paying for another 800 feet of the water line.
The project would include replacing a 12-inch shutoff valve that would help in the event of water problems north of the new retail site. “If it is not replaced and we have trouble, we would have to shut off QuikTrip while we make repairs,” he said.
Also approved was an offer to purchase two vacant lots at 419 West Trudgeon. Those lots would be initially used for parking and, if an interest were shown, could be made available for sale for a business.
page tentDuring a nearly hour-long meeting, HEDA members heard from Joy in Life Ministries head James Page. That organization has contracted with several large retailers including Amazon, Costco and Walmart to make available to the public new packaged household items, tools clothes and other items at no charge.
He said plans call for several loads of new furniture to be made available. “We will be able to help people in need,” he said. That would be in the case of burnouts, flood or divorce,” he said.
Page said those items are currently being provided to area residents twice a week in a tent located at the ministry property on East Trudgeon. He was asking for help constructing a 40 by 100 foot building at 609 East Trudgeon to store and distribute the items. That building is projected to cost $250,000. Page said the entire operation is currently being handled by volunteers from the church but future plans call for employees to be added full time..
He pointed out this past week the ministry had picked up over 18,000 points of hand sanitizer, much of which had been given to area schools and churches.
Also to be added to the warehouse would be a walk-in refrigerator and freezer. Page said the food distribution last fall averted $35,000 each week.
A request for help with a new retail building on East Main was made by Kanon and Cade Bailey. The brothers purchased the property that was once a gas station and have built a 4,000 square foot building on it. The building has been raised some three feet above the existing grade to keep it from flooding. They were asking HEDA for $30,000 to finish putting a concrete stem wall in front of the building. Even though work is still underway, the brothers say they have one tenant from McAlester who wants two of the four spaces for a cannabis dispensary.
HEDA members will be voting on that request at their July meeting.
HEDA member Bruce Jones presented a 10-minute video excerpt from a recent legislative forum meeting with State Representatives Scott Fetgatter and Logan Phillips. In the video, the two are talking about economic development and how Henryetta could become more involved.
Phillips said the state Department of Commerce has over 100 businesses lined up that are looking to relocate to Oklahoma.
“You sit on I-40 and have great town and great people,” said Fetgatter. He pointed out the town needs to hire a full-time economic development director. “If the Department of Commerce doesn’t know what you have then you have nobody filling out requests for proposals. He went on to say a good economic development director can cost between $100,000 and $150,000 a year. “Economic development is a long, slow process,” he pointed out. “QuikTrip has been in the works for four years. You are talking about paying half a million for for a person to come in and potentially not see anything for four or five years.”
He also recommended partnering with the Okmulgee County Area Development Authority.