Jeannie Buchannan of the Western Trail Historical Society was present at Thursday’s Economic Development Board of Directors meeting. She requested an additional $6,600 for tourism. The amount is the remainder of their original application for $16,600 in June 2015. Buchannan reported on the numerous upcoming events, exhibits, receptions and tours.
Buchannan quoted EDC Director Brian Bush, who was absent due to a EDC trip, as saying, “Working with the Western Trail Historical Society gives me the unique opportunity to invite business to host their conferences, meetings and trainings in Altus.” In February 2017 Bush has a conference scheduled and has reserved 50 local hotel rooms. “Governor Mary Fallin, Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Frank Lucas utilize the facilities when in Altus, and the Kiwanis Club has scheduled their upcoming regional meeting at the museum as well.”
Board President Rick Henry said, “In the beginning of my term as councilman, I was a bit apprehensive in disbursing funds to the historical society only because of their state at the time. Over time with financial support from the EDC and other entities, everything has changed. Now, I am very happy and excited on the current status, and going forward I foresee additional positive growth.”
There are 359 current Western Trail memberships to help underwrite projects, along with in-kind donations, the EDC money and other private funding. The Oklahoma Arts Council and grants are also forms of revenue that help purchase things such as new tables and chairs. They also hope to work on renovations outside for future catering as well as an ag barn. Henry encouraged Buchannan to form a budget for a review in 90 days.
Also during the meeting City of Altus Planning Director Barbara Burleson discussed possible projects relating to opportunities and or expansions of businesses for economic development. Businesses are Altus Christian Academy, Ace Hardware, Quartz Mountain Medical Imaging Center, Western Equipment, NBC, ODOT maintenance facility, Geiger Eye Care, Family Life Church, and two possible assisted living centers.
It was also reported that Heritage Homes, Hunter Point and Worrell Homes have a total of about 25 houses to be constructed, with Winters having a few pending. The Mesquite addition will be completed in phases with an additional 70 homes.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077