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January 15, 2014

New buisnesses could be on Chickasha horiozon

CHICKASHA —

Chickasha's city council met Monday night in a work session Council Member Howard Carpenter called the most enjoyable in recent memory. 

Carpenter credited Chickasha Economic Development Council President Christy Elkins comments on a plethora of possible new businesses as the reason for the meeting's jovial tone. 

"We have several feasibility studies involving restaurants and big box stores going on right now," said Elkins. "There are so many retail entities ready to come in and we have a developer looking at building a new shopping center." 

Elkins said industrial businesses are looking at the city as well, including some that are interested in the Chickasha Airport. 

"Originally we lost that project, but it's back on now," said Elkins. 

New apartments and a housing division are also well underway, according to Elkins. Plans to build a large truck stop, which could potentially include a 24-hour restaurant are in development too. 

"If this goes through it will create a lot of new money," said Elkins. "This won't be recirculation. It will be a wealth of new sales tax dollars." 

City Manager Stuart Fairburn said he and Elkins discussed at length how to address increasing sales tax revenue for Chickasha over the last year. He said the three primary areas of business are industrial primary jobs, housing and retail. The debate stemmed from which area to attack first, but recently he and Elkins have adopted a new methodology to broadening Chickasha's business horizons. 

"We said 'Screw it, we need them all,' so we may as well go for all three," said Fairburn. "Economic development is the key to sustainability for any city." 

The business discussion stemmed from the council's interest in next year's budget. Fairburn said the city has seen positive sales tax numbers over the last three months, but that's not a reason to start spending money. 

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