Michael Allen talks about city ODOC grant

City of McAlester Grant Writer Michael Allen, right, talks about an Oklahoma Department of Commerce grant to improve the Steven Taylor Industrial Park, with Ward 1 Councilor Weldon Smith at left.

McAlester city officials continue to pursue a grant totaling nearly $3 million for the Steven W. Taylor Industrial Park.

Terrain that’s not level in parts of the industrial park has been a longtime hindrance to farther expansion in some portions of the site. Expanded sewer services at the industrial park has also been a longtime goal.

Through utilizing the $2,940,000 Oklahoma Department of Commerce grant, the city has two projects planned:

• Grading 90 acres of land that are topographically uneven, to allow for new industrial expansion.

• Extending the city’s sewer network to six industrial buildings north of State Highway 31.

“The first activity, once complete, will immediately improve industrial competitiveness for industrial site selection,” the city’s application to the ODOC states.

Increased capacity and environmental controls will allow the city to be more competitive through improvements to the city’s central infrastructure, the application states about the second phase of the planned project.

Funds for the projects have already been set aside by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

It’s part of a Progressing Rural Economic Prosperity, or PREP grant. Money originally came from the federal government, with the Oklahoma Legislature allocating $91,200,000 in PREP funds to individual sites around the state.

The Oklahoma Legislature then awarded the funds to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to distribute through grants to enhance industrial sites, airports and ports to cover costs related to economic development infrastructure that support sites or surrounding communities identified by the Department of Commerce as having such needs, program documents state.

McAlester’s Steven Taylor Industrial Park is among the sites identified to receive PREP funds.

City of McAlester Grant Writer Michael Allen told city councilors during their May 9 meeting that although the Department of Commerce has set the funds aside for the city, the city still must follow a formal process to receive them.

Included in the process is the submission of a detailed plan to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce regarding the projects.

That plan was presented to the ODOC on April 26.

During their May 9 meeting, city councilors unanimously passed a resolution in support of the project and promised to monitor the administration of the grant.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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