Ardmore has three representatives among 20 finalists for awards presented by the Oklahoma Main Street Center. The finalists and award winners will be announced at the 24th Annual Main Street Awards Banquet May 7 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Red Dirt Brew House was named a finalist in the category of Best Adaptive Reuse Project and Casa Romo is a finalist in Best Façade Rehabilitation over $10,000. The Chickasaw Nation Re-Entry Program is a finalist for Premier Partner.

"These awards highlight and represent the best from the businesses, communities and programs throughout Oklahoma," Linda Barnett, Oklahoma Main Street Center director, said. "These award entries sent in by the local Main Street Programs showcase the enthusiasm, creativity and responsibility toward increasing revenue and creating jobs for their local downtown business districts."

Each award category falls under one of the "four points" in the Main Street Approach:

• organization

• promotion

• economic restructuring

• design

A panel of outside judges for each point reviewed the entries and will determine the winner. This year was the second for Casa Romo to enter their façade, which is one of the finalists.

Daniel Romo, Casa Romo General Manager, said he was ecstatic the restaurant was named among the finalists in its second year for application for the award. One of the most scenic storefronts on Main Street, Casa Romo's façade was part of a renovation project when the restaurant moved across the street. Romo said the façade was redone from top to bottom. The entire transom windows were rehabbed and the glass panes underneath the façade were replaced.

"They weren't tempered and were not up to code," Romo said. "It is just clean and it is what it was originally supposed to look like. The only difference is above the transom windows; it is supposed to be brick. The National Park Service and Ardmore Preservation Office okayed us to leave it alone."

Romo said $25,000 to $30,000 was spent on the renovation. In total, over $40 million has been invested in the downtown area since 1989 Julie Patterson, Ardmore Main Street Director, said.

"Each Main Street program in the state turns in award nominations for their community," she said. "There is a lot of competition because all Main Street Programs are proud of their downtown. We are especially proud of Ardmore and the people investing in downtown to keep it thriving, but also make Ardmore a destination.

"Red Dirt Brew House and Casa Romo both utilized benefits offered by the Main Street Authority as a business member. The Ardmore Main Street Authority and The Chickasaw Nation Re-Entry Program have also partnered on certain projects that have made a huge difference in the historic district."

Patterson said the Ardmore Main Street is excited about the entries being named to the top three of their respective categories and a win would bring state and national recognition.

Michael Pineda