As we venture into a new year we often take a moment to look back on the one that has just past. The year 2013 was certainly eventful for as the Affordable Health Care act began to be implemented and the nation recovered from school shootings and the bombing of the Boston Marathon in April.
Durant had its share of big events as well.
In January, a new group was formed in Durant called the Durant Young Professionals. The group brings together young adults in professional fields to help them network and socialize with other professionals their age.
The Boys and Girls club of Durant officially opened in February after its soft opening over the Christmas break. The club has grown substantially since then as it provides a place for students of all ages together after school hours.
In March, controversy ensued between the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office and County Commissioners as the new Bryan County jail opened and moved inmates into the facility in April.
Many of these matters were laid to rest and the $3 million project added space for 25 more inmates to the jail.
April also saw the first air show at the Durant Regional Airport – Eaker Field in some time. Several residents went to watch the Take to the Skies Air Show, visit with pilots and ride in a hot air balloon.
Local eighth-grade science teacher Mara Richards was forced to take some time off after a vehicle struck her during an evening walk in April. Richards recovered and was back to work in August.
In May, Mayor Jerry Tomlinson was reelected as the city’s mayor while Bobby Story was elected as incoming vice-mayor.
Later in May, the local community came together to provide aid to residents of Moore and other areas around Oklahoma City after a tornado wiped out much of that area.
Weeks were spent with food, supplies and money being sent from the Bryan County area to help victims rebuild their lives.
Durant Area Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon welcoming an office for the American Red Cross into the city in June.
The Durant branch of the Red Cross can provide quicker responses to area disasters such as fires or tornadoes in Durant and surrounding areas.
New sidewalks began appearing around Durant schools in June as part of the Safe Routes to School Program as well and the Three Valley Museum hosted its first ever “Say ‘I Do’ in Durant (again)” event celebrating the city’s past as a “marriage mill.”
In July, Durant residents caught the first glimpse at an expansion of the Choctaw Casino and Resort which will add a new hotel, food vendors and entertainment such as a movie theater, bowling alley and laser zone area.
Ground broke on the first phase of the expansion in September.
Durant’s first ever art walk was held in August. The event which is now held on the first Thursday of every month invited residents to walk along Main Street and enjoy art from local artists.
September saw a major road project complete as a new Highway 70 Bypass was opened allowing truck traffic a route other than on Durant city roads.
Durant recognized the end of an era as a well-known doctor decided to no longer deliver babies in the area this year as well.
While Doctor Braulio Cuesta will continue his work as a gynecologist, he hung up his delivery gloves in November. Cuesta has delivered many area babies over the past three decades.
As the year was winding down in December, Durant gave way to annual events such as the Shop with a Cop program and Main Street holiday events. New holiday events such as “Santa for Seniors” provided Christmas cheer to residents as well.
Durant also welcomed between 10 and 20 new businesses including stores, restaurants and manufacturing facilities to the area throughout the year.
These events made up just a small portion of the year’s happenings in Durant as the city continued to grow during the 2013 year which proved to be an eventful year in the City of Durant.