MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

July 30, 2013

Homes best for renewal area

— Leaving light industry out of the Urban Renewal Authority’s plans for an area north of downtown paves the way for a different kind of revival.

The decision reserves an area for development of 34 single-family, mixed-income homes.

The completion of the homes depends upon the developer receiving tax credits.

So while it is not a done deal, the plan has merit.

The authority chose to subdivide an area bounded by Chicago and 11th streets on the east and west, and Shawnee Bypass and Talladega Street on the north and south.

That area has been designated as blighted in order to pave the way for renewal.

The area reserved for housing is between Chicago and Ninth streets and south of Miller Street on the west end and Martin Street on the east.

Building new structures within the blighted area will raise property values even for existing structures.

The homes will give a much-needed face-lift to Muskogee.

New homes help make Muskogee a better place for industry, too.

It’s a chicken-and-egg thing. Some companies want places for their workers to live before building here.

But some companies are looking for an available workforce.

Either way, the new homes could be very helpful to the community.

And it’s not as if the authority hurt the city’s chances for light industry. The port and Davis Field Airport both have sites that could be used for light industry.

The overall area north of downtown will include commercial and big-box retail development. The decision to exclude light industry does close one avenue for economic diversity.

Ultimately, we are in favor of what attracts the most business to Muskogee.

Hopefully, new homes will attract light industry to other parts of town and provide a facelift for a blighted area.

That’s two steps in the right direction.

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