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September 25, 2013

Officials say housing is key to future

(Continued)

CHICKASHA —

Commuting is not only expensive and inconvenient; it indirectly affects the economy of Chickasha.

“If we bring in a business that has 200 jobs, where are the 200 families going to live?” Fairburn asked. “It leaves the new business to steal employees from other businesses in town, or it leaves them recruiting people that have to commute from somewhere else — they are then taking the wages they receive and spending them outside of town.”

Most cities in Oklahoma survive from moneys collected via sales tax, but sales must be made in order to collect this revenue. People are more likely to spend money, Fairburn explained, in the city in which they live.

The most recent housing facility to Chickasha, the Chickasha Hotel Apartments, opened in February of 2013. Additional in-town facilities, as of now, include a 26-unit Senior Housing Development, an 85-unit RV park and a 100-unit RV park.

Elkins said, although she strives to keep unsettled business confidential, the majority of her workdays are spent researching information for, and negotiating with, housing and business developers. There are numerous companies, differing in industry, currently interested in establishing sites in a city that seems to be square in the heart of Oklahoma. Chickasha is 40 minutes from the Sooner country of Norman, military town of Lawton and capital of the state, Oklahoma City. 

Potential establishments are expected to approximately 1,000 job opportunities for those living in the Chickasha area, which will strengthen the leg of primary jobs, but as First National Bank and Trust of Chickasha Business Development Officer Paul Lewis explained, the unemployment rate in Chickasha is right at five percent. It is reasonable to expect, future job opportunists will be relocating to Chickasha from elsewhere.  

“Most people don’t even know how much this community has grown,” Lewis said, “and as we provide better housing and bring more businesses in, our population is only going to continue to grow.”

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