Main Street Executive Director updates investment in downtown area

Beverly Bryant - March 13, 2019 12:05 pm

The 2018-19 Main Street Board of Directors includes back row, from left, Rhonda Skrapke, Rachel Stewart, Chelsi Hendrickson, Kacey Flanery, Kim Anderson, Mary Beth Moore and Terron Liles. Front row, Lori Henderson, Alena Jennings, Chelsea McConnell, Julie Grigsba and Lisa Reed. Not pictured are Dave Baur, Sally Talley and Kelsey Wagner.

Ponca City Main Street Executive Director Chelsea McConnell presented an update Monday night to the City Commission on the agency’s achievements in 2018.

She said 2018 reinvestment figures showed 12 downtown buildings purchased for more than $1.2 million. Among those purchases were properties bought by Kevin and Tracy Emmons, including the Royalty Building and the former Ponca City News building; Vortex Alley Brewery; Devinny Law Office; Anderson and Co.; A+ Printing Co.; the Attic Boutique; and the Ponca City News.

Ten projects with a total investment of more than $4 million involved rehabilitation or new construction, including a building owned by Jodi Cline; Devinney Law Office; The Poncan Theatre; the City Central Building; Anderson and Co.; and Standley Systems.

The total annual reinvestment was $5,381, 906. Downtown projects totaled $1,258,536; private project investments tallied $4,056,530, and public project investments were $54,165.

McConnell said 5,346 volunteer hours — valued at $22.18 in Oklahoma — added the equivalent of an additional $118,575 to the pie.

The value of Ponca City Main Street has not gone unnoticed at the state level. PCMS has been nominated for 2019 State Awards in the following categories: Main Street Hero — Terron Liles; Premier Special Event with under 1,000 attendees — Ponca City’s 125th birthday; Outstanding Image Promotion — Rebranding Main Street;  Best Business Practices — Whimsy; and Best New Business — Vortex Alley Brewing.

In addition, PCMS has been named a finalist in these non-competitive awards: Board Member of the Year — Kacey Flanery; and Crowning Achievement — the Wings mural.

Ponca City Main Street is in the Top 11 communities in the state and McConnell is in the top four Main Street directors, nominated for the Watonga Bob Shoemaker Award for Outstanding Director.

The State awards banquet is May 7 in Oklahoma City, and as the 2018 Outstanding Program of the Year, Ponca City Main Street is  the host of the 2019 banquet.

McConnell also updated the commission on a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. Ponca City is in the second year of the grant and has been given approval to apply for a third year, with the focus on marketing and promotion. In the first year of the grant, McConnell said, a strategic plan was developed, focusing on creating a business improvement district. A leadership committee was formed to direct that plan. In the second year, the grant was used to rebrand Ponca City Main Street and to create a marketing plan for downtown Ponca City. Funds were provided for printed materials.

To continue bringing a focus on creating a downtown Arts District, the Wings Mural was completed behind Equity Bank, south of Grand Avenue, and the Day Break Mural was completed at the City Central Building.

An “Art in the Alley” box was completed and placed in the alley behind Boomarang restaurant, with several pieces of art featured there. Some of the pieces have been sold by the artists. Plans include having six additional boxes built by the Pioneer Technology Center’s cabinet class, with art pieces to change quarterly.


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