The Ardmore Tourism Authority voted unanimously to provide funding and become a partner in a downtown redevelopment study. The board approved an expenditure of $7,500 for the project, which will study the downtown area and how it fits into the overall framework of Ardmore. The purpose of the study is to provide a blueprint for renovation, which will make the city a destination.

The study will be performed by AMD Planning and Research, and is spearheaded by the Ardmore Main Street Authority in partnership with the ATA, Ardmore Chamber of Commerce and the city of Ardmore.

“AMS is looking at the overall picture in how the downtown would complement the city,” said ATA board member Daniel Romo.

ATA chairman Bob Humphrey said the comprehensive partnership will make a difference.

“What I can see this study doing is getting an overall picture, with everyone ending up in the same place,” he said.

The board discussed incentives for the History and Champion Reining event in the amount of $500. The event, held at the Hardy Murphy Coliseum, was awarded $500 last year and is in its fifth year. An incentive of $1,500 was also awarded to the Barry Burk Roping Roundup, which takes place over Memorial Day weekend. The event is for ages 19 and under and has been in Ardmore for 29 years.

“It looks like it will be bigger than ever,” said Hardy Murphy General Manager Jeff Storm.

Updates were provided for both the Fireball Run and OK-Texas Shootout. Organizers for the Fireball Run were in Ardmore recently for their second site visit. A message from the mayor was taped and is expected to be on the website within 10 days. During the visit, the HFV Wilson Community Center was selected as the mayor’s charity. When contestants arrive in September, they will be provided with a token gift as part of their visit to Ardmore as well as a T-shirt. During the overnight visit, the chamber will host participants with a dinner or entertainment at the Ardmore Convention Center.

Discussion regarding the OK-Texas Shootout revolved around incentives for the organizers of the event. A sum of $3 is paid to organizers for the number of hotel rooms rented during the shootout. Through the first two weekends, the ATA spoke with city hotels and found 564 hotels rooms were booked the first weekend and 554 during the second weekend. There is one weekend remaining in the event.

The ATA paid out between $3,500 and $3,800 in incentives following last year’s event. There was discussion regarding a refinement in the awarding of incentives, and will be presented during a future board meeting.

Also on a future agenda will be a discussion about repairs at the Ardmore Convention Center. The facility is 10 years old and is in need of some upgrades and maintenance work. Recommendations will be provided during the May meeting for prioritization. ATA President and CEO Mita Bates said the convention center has been slow during April, but will pick up through the month of August.

“June is not typically a busy month for meetings, but this year it is pretty full,” she said.