Last updated: July 09. 2014 10:47AM - 633 Views
By - jbreger@civitasmedia.com

DIA Executive Director Tommy Kramer says goodbye to his assistant Cindy Price as she moves to the assistant city clerk position.
DIA Executive Director Tommy Kramer says goodbye to his assistant Cindy Price as she moves to the assistant city clerk position.
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The Durant Industrial Authority and Economic Development Council held their regular monthly meetings Tuesday morning to discuss attracting new businesses and the job market in Durant.

The DIA discussed the merging of two truss companies that will be located in Durant. The Panel Truss Company will lease a portion of a building in Durant.

The Authority also discussed ways of aiding the new company in repairing the roof and air conditioning for the building. The authority was also visited by Development Consultant Ricky Hayes with Retail Attractions.

This is the first step for the Authority which is currently looking into attracting new retail business to Durant.

Hayes explained who he is and why he got into retail attraction. He also explained that attracting retail business is a slow process, but said that all those who stayed the course with his company did see retail growth.

The visit was for information purposes and no decision was made on if the Authority would be working with Hayes on this project.

The Durant Economic Development Council discussed the job market in Durant.

While discussing the drop in unemployment for the area, it was revealed that more retirement-aged residents are now using local employment agencies.

DIA Executive Director Tommy Kramer announced that he will have two meetings Wednesday to bring new business into the area.

While one company he is meeting with is still a secret to even the DIA and DEDC members, the other may possibly purchase the JCP Specialty Foods building.

This would not only save the 93 existing jobs at the location but would also add 250 more positions. The DEDC also had a special guest to speak.

The new Southeastern Oklahoma State University President Senator Sean Burrage spoke to the council.

Burrage spoke about his goals for the university such as reaching more potential students who do not know of low-income possibilities at SE and out-of-state students.

Burrage said he has an open-door policy for students and public. In fact, Burrage said the first thing he did when he entered his new office was to physically prop the door open.

He said the only time his door will be closed is when he is in discussion. He also said that he will gladly give his cell phone number to anyone who wishes for it, and he wants people to always know what he is doing.

In other business, the DEDC discussed local progress, including an 88,000 square-foot expansion at the Tile Shop, the completion of the new Overland Materials Asphalt Plant and the successful opening of the new McDonald’s restaurant.

A new Medical Center will soon open on University Boulevard and the South Bypass Phase Two is set to open in early 2015.

The DIA and DEDC also took a moment to say goodbye to long-time DIA Excutive Director Assistant Cindy Price. Price will be taking a new position with the city as the new assistant city clerk.

- Jessica Breger can be reached at (580) 924-4388 ext. 116 or on Twitter @jbreger_news

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