Q&A - March 25, 2016

Let me start by asking you a question this week. Have you ever visited a small town square or main street community where every storefront was occupied? Where every place of business was open for business with no vacancies? Where parking spaces were filled and groups of people were walking up and down the sidewalks, enjoying themselves as they meandered in and out of various stores, shops and eateries?

If you have experienced a place like this, you know just how it made you feel. You could sense the small town pride. You could feel the attraction and the allure. You felt the enticement and hometown charm of all the sights, sounds and aromas. These are the places that we love to visit time and time again. These are the places that are great for living and for commerce.

Q: Is there reason for others to invest in downtown Okmulgee?

The answer is an unqualified “Yes!”

As President of OSUIT, I have made it a priority that the university and the community become true partners in ensuring the future success of Okmulgee. From professional experience, I know an active, vibrant community enhances the experiences of college students and leads to higher rates of degree completion. By offering housing options in downtown Okmulgee, students will see first-hand the opportunities available to them to shop, eat and live all within minutes of each other.

Close to 3,000 students are enrolled at OSUIT, but currently there are only enough on-campus housing options to accommodate about 800 of these students. That leaves many looking for off-campus housing, but the options currently available in Okmulgee are limited and some not ideal for our students.

There are significant opportunities for those wishing to bring more living spaces to downtown Okmulgee with a waiting population of students who need to call someplace home while attending OSUIT. A listing of available housing spaces within the community and contact information is provided to eligible students during the admissions process and during new student orientation. There are also opportunities for apartment/housing owners and leasing agents to distribute promotional information around campus.

Furthermore, as students and others begin to live downtown in larger numbers, there will be more favorable prospects for entrepreneurs who wish to open businesses in downtown Okmulgee. Downtown tenants will provide the bustle and activity that is so essential to the success of most shops and restaurants.

OSUIT is committed to seeing downtown Okmulgee thrive and become a home for many of our students. If we work together, we will see our downtown filled with enterprise and commerce once again. With investments from the university and private building owners, Okmulgee will continue to rise.

Lots of people are following the upsurge of activity in Okmulgee with keen interest and many are looking for ways to become involved. Right now, the projections for downtown Okmulgee are promising and risks are negligible. Anyone interested in learning more about investing in downtown Okmulgee should contact the Okmulgee Main Street office at (918) 758-1015.

Thanks for the wonderful question this week. Please keep them coming by emailing them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.