Wagoner – Approximately 30 Wagoner citizens and community leaders were on hand Monday night (November 17) for the latest meeting in a series of meetings geared towards boosting economic development in the community.
This most recent gathering was an opportunity for citizens to hear from Rickey Hayes, founder and principal of Retail Attractions, LLC. Hayes served as the economic development director for Owasso for six years, at a time when that community began to experience rapid retail growth. In 2007, he founded Retail Attractions and has since worked to attract new retail business to client communities in Oklahoma and surrounding states.
In April 2014, the Grand River Dam Authority contracted with Retail Attractions, as well as Smith & Gray LLC (industrial development) to assist all of its Oklahoma wholesale electric customer communities with economic development efforts. Like 15 other public power communities in the state, Wagoner owns and operates its own electric distribution system but purchases its wholesale electricity from GRDA. The community has been a public power partner with GRDA since 1947.
Hayes told the audience that Wagoner’s public power status can be an important advantage for recruiting new retail businesses. He also said that strong community involvement, as displayed by a large turnout for the meeting, is also a good starting point.
“I’ve been in communities of 250,000 people that couldn’t get this many interested people in the room,” Hayes told participants. “So it’s obvious you all want the same things for Wagoner.”
Being able to think outside the box and taking advantage of its location along Highway 69 were others ways Hayes said the community could benefit in an enhanced economic development effort.
This latest meeting comes after four “visioning” sessions facilitated by the Wagoner Public Works Authority (WPWA) and GRDA and led by Smith & Gray’s Tom Gray and Sherri Smith-Gray. Those sessions allowed participants to produce an action plan for future growth and begin building consensus on what that could look like.
The group’s next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 11, at 6PM (Wagoner Civic Center). At that meeting, a special guest speaker — Wes Stucky – will address the group. Stucky is president of Development Management, Inc., a consulting firm assisting economic development agencies and private developers in organization management and industrial site development. For 25 years, he served as president of the Ardmore Development Authority and Ardmore Chamber of Commerce. During his career, he has been known for finding innovative solutions to funding and developing projects.
All interested citizens are invited to attend this important community event. For more information, contact WPWA Director Dwayne Elam at (918) 485-4586.
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