WCEDC working on a number of projects
September 12, 2019
The Woods County Economic Development Committee (WCEDC) met during the noon hour Wednesday. New chairman Alan Poe presided. Other members present were Matt Tucker, Jeremy Eaton and Sandie Olson. Absent were Dr. Kay Decker, Randy McMurphy and Dr. Bo Hannaford.
The committee members voted to approve the minutes and the financial report. Meeting dates for next year were approved.
The fiscal year 2019-2020 budget was approved. WCEDC Director Sonja Williams said this was the first time the committee has had a budget that was not negative. Between the carryover and a reduction of $12,000 for a part time employee, the budget is $4,452 in the black. Williams said she anticipated needing some assistance on the 2020 Census, but Woods County is employing someone for that purpose. If she needs any other help, she’ll go out and find any needed funds.
Williams reported that Woods County Rural Water District #3 and the Avard Rail board are working together to upgrade the entire water district. The district will need to increase the water supply to add any new business at the Avard Rail site.
Regarding the Alva Arena Authority, Williams said she anticipates a groundbreaking in the next 90 days. Currently they are looking at the value engineering part, and they hope to do the project in one phase. However, it may need to be split into two phases.
There was a census meeting in Oklahoma City on Monday, Williams said. Ethan Sacket was hired by the county to work on the census. He has a checklist from that meeting to work. She said the City of Alva may set up a committee for the census also.
The Oklahoma Academy holds a Town Hall meeting annually, inviting 125 people from across the state to attend. Williams applied and has been accepted for this year’s meeting. The topic is Oklahoma Energy: Optimizing our Resources for the Future. It will be Oct. 20-23 in Thackerville.
Regarding downtown revitalization, Williams reported the building has been torn down on the north side of Alva’s square, a Freedom West project. The site is ready for new construction to begin in the next few months. The wayfinding signage phase for this year has received funding from the Alva Tourism Committee. Dr. Decker is working on getting matching funding for an art piece for the Alva square.
Someone is working on opening a new restaurant in Alva, Decker reported. She couldn’t release more details at present.
Poe said that Bell Supply has agreed to rent the Waynoka incubator building for another year. The old CDR building in Waynoka continues to be occupied by MRS Services.
Williams reported attending an emerging technology conference that focused on renewable energy. The focus was on energy from wind, solar and hydro sources. She said she learned that Oklahoma is considered number one in encouraging electric vehicles with a push to place an electric charging station every 50 miles. Woods County will be putting a charging station on the Alva square.
Gov. Stitt has directed the state tourism department to focus on the entire state, not just the metro areas. He regards tourism as part of a quality of life issue for attracting new residents to the state. Williams hopes to schedule a spokesperson from tourism to come to speak locally.
Olson said Waynoka still needs a grocery store. Williams said she’s continuing to work on that but “nothing has panned out.” She said the Waynoka mayor has been discussing the idea of a food co-op like the one in Kiowa, Kansas.
An event called the UTV Takeover has been scheduled for Sept. 25-29 in Waynoka. No one seemed to know much about it other than Olson said there’s supposed to be a parade. Williams said the promoters have said they hope it will eventually be like Sturgis is for motorcycles. Poe said many of the camping areas are already reserved.