MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 20, 2013

City right to speed up intersection


— Muskogee needs all the retail sales tax revenue it can muster.

The intersection of U.S. 69 and Shawnee Bypass is one of the busiest intersections in the city — an ever-flowing source of potential shoppers and diners that could make businesses profitable.

But that intersection has been undeveloped for ages.

Now the entity known as the Muskogee Redevelopment Authority — comprised of all nine Muskogee city councilors — has taken out a loan and plans to purchase one corner of that intersection.

The Muskogee Redevelopment Authority received a $1.1 million loan from the City of Muskogee Foundation.

The authority intends to purchase the land from the county and sell it to interested developers.

The loan should be repaid from the proceeds from the resale of the 5.93 acres at the southwest corner of the intersection.

No taxpayer money will be spent to repay the loan.

The city has found a way to get the ball rolling on developing that intersection.

That’s important for Muskogee growth.

City governments are not allowed to incur debt — such as a loan — to purchase property.

Muskogee has found a way,  by reconstituting the Muskogee Redevelopment Authority, to jump start development.

It’s a smart play by the city.

By purchasing the property, the city can keep land speculators from purchasing the property and holding onto it until the value goes up. That could have been years.

It also allows the city to speed up the process of buying, reselling and developing the land.

It was a good move.