Durant Industrial Authority and Economic Development Council met Tuesday morning .
The Durant Industrial Authority approved providing additional funds in the amount of $279,669.44 for the widening of South 9th Ave.
The funds will come from the city’s job creation fund to support such jobs as the ones provided by Choctaw Casino that would benefit from the road improvements.
According to City Manager Jim Dunegan, the price of the project was originally estimated about four years ago.
Since that time oil prices have increased which increased the total cost of the project significantly. The price increase not only affected the materials needed but also the gas for the equipment.
Industrial Authority Executive Director Tommy Kramer also gave an update on projects such as The Tile Shop, highway improvements and possible incoming distribution centers.
The Economic Development Council welcomed Main Street manager Cecily Williams and new member Robert Bourne to the meeting for the first time.
Mayor Tomlinson then announced the actions of TEX-21, an organization the City of Durant has recently entered into.
“It truly is a grassroots effort to improve our highway,” said Tomlinson. The group is working to upgrade highway 69/75 to interstate status.
If interstate status cannot be achieved the group is going to try to get Congressional Priority designation for the highway.
Either scenario would mean improvements to the highway. Tomlinson said safety is his main objective in upgrading the status of the highway.
Deidre Myers with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce then gave an economic review of 2012. Myers said that there could not have been a better introduction into her presentation than the TEX-21 information.
Tomlinson said that if the area does not prepare for more traffic, the traffic along with its money may go elsewhere. Myers said there is no “may.” She said that if the area does not prepare the business will go elsewhere.
Myers went on to explain how freight trucking has increased in the area. She said that freight trucking is “going to be big in the next 25 years.”
She said that it was a good thing that Durant is seeing this and attempting to prepare for the increase in traffic.
She also broke down how the local economy compared to communities nearby. Myer said that although Durant did see a dip in the economy at the end of 2012, it has remained steady.