BACK IN BUSINESS: City leaders work to build Claremore’s business climate
Salesha Wilken Staff Reporter
Business leaders are getting a glimpse of the future and a candid reflection on the past 12 months as Mayor Mickey Perry delivered the annual State of the City address.
“One of the toughest issues facing the city council and staff, is negotiating incentives to new business’s while at the same time being sensitive to our current business’,” Perry said. “It is very important that we have a plan for future development.”
The city council is exploring innovative ways to help businesses such as Tax Increment Financing, he added.
TIF financing has assisted in brining improvements to the city’s infrastructure including the new $3.2 million electric substation, without any tax increase, according to Perry.
The expansion will provide the necessary infrastructure to assist in the $40 million plant expansion at Baker Hughes.
Additionally it will provide opportunities for other business development.
“This is an excellent example of government and business coming together to provide positive results for the citizens,” Perry said.
The CRC Partnership will continue to focus on bringing industrial growth to Claremore, he added.
One step in that process was completed this year as Rogers County and the City of Claremore worked together on the rail spur project.
The railroad spur was completed in 2012 adding an asset to the city’s industrial park.
The rail spur is creating potential business and industry growth for the city, according to Perry.
City leaders are currently working on developing a plan, Claremore 20/20 that will outline where the city is going for the next seven years, according to Perry.
City staff is assessing needs for residential growth and infrastructure improvements.
“We want families in Claremore to not just work, shop, play and go to school here but to really invest in Claremore,” Perry said.
“To do whatever they can to support local businesses. It is our goal to provide more outlets for residents to support their own community.”
Approximately 27 businesses opened their doors in 2012, according to Perry.
“Economic development continues to be a priority of this council and administration and we are working hard to make our city more business-friendly,” Perry said.
The economic development of the city is just one area of focus“Because we believe that you have to start from the ground up and create a firm foundation of sustainability, our primary focus in 2012 was once again infrastructure repair,” Perry said.
The city made many improvements to traffic and utility improvements.
In the coming year, the city will continue these improvements with the expansion of J.M. Davis Boulevard and by planning long term solutions to railroad traffic issues. City crews continue to make improvements to the sewer, water and electrical infrastructure of the city. The city is looking at major water treatment improvements in 2013, according to Perry.
“We will continue to look at street projects to improve traffic flow and usability, as well as utility infrastructure projects to improve the safety and quality of life for our citizens,” Perry said.
Improvements will extend beyond infrastructure, as the city works to address quality of life, through additions to the city park system.
As the city moves forward, officials are looking for more public engagement.
“We will soon be asking our citizens to go to the polls to help us with our forward movement,” Perry said.
Next year we will be asking for renewal on the current sales tax that supports police, fire and parks programs, he added.
“It is a new day in Claremore and your support is needed,” Perry said. ‘The city will soon be scheduling a series of town hall meetings to give you an opportunity to express your concerns and ideas for the future of this community.”