By Jessica Bruha
Oklahoma Finance Authorities met in Ardmore on Wednesday for a special meeting and presented information regarding several projects they’ve been involved with in the community.
OFA President and CEO Michael Davis said the OFA has offsite board meetings every two years in the community of their chairman, who is currently Bridger Cox with Citizens Bank and Trust.
“The motivation is to publicly thank our chairman for his/her service and build broader awareness of our programs and local projects that we have been involved as a partner,” Davis said.
A presentation showed Oklahoma Finance Authorities have been involved in four Ardmore projects in four different areas for many years. In recent years, the authorities have provided in excess of $80 million for projects in Ardmore.
They had helped us in the past with construction and financing of a building on Cooper Drive,” ADA President and CEO Mita Bates said, who attended the meeting Wednesday. “And they’re just a great partner to have in economic development because they allow us to take advantage of opportunities we might not be able to otherwise participate in.”
Bates said by looking at the projects OFA is involved with in Ardmore alone, it’s apparent they cover a wide array of organizations.
Some of the projects including the following:
 • Economic development: Ardmore Development Authority, $5.4 million direct loan to ADA and construction of a $179,000 square-foot warehouse
• Private industry: Oklahoma Department of Commerce/Michelin, $29.3 million industrial development revenue bonds in 2004 and $10 million economic development pooled finance in 2013
• Higher education: University Center of Southern Oklahoma, $6.07 million for Master Lease Real Property bonds in 2014 and a new 49,000 square-foot Health, Science and Math building
• Public/Nonprofit sector: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, $95 million for tax exempt bond financing in 2001 and construction of an additional 178,000 square-feet
“(OFA) allow these organizations to benefit from utilizing their resources,” Bates said, adding that being able to build those facilities and create jobs builds opportunities and helps build the local economy.
Davis said they had a good turnout for the meeting with attendance from community leaders, representatives from local banks, a regional representative from the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center and a regional representative from the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance.
“It was a great event,” Bates said.
The OFA’s mission is to assist in the creation, retention and diversification of employment opportunities throughout Oklahoma. The OFA is made up of two separate, yet collaborative entities, the Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority and Oklahoma Development Finance Authority, according to information provided by Davis.
The OFA partners with community banks, economic developers, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce and many others to provide various financing programs including taxable and tax-exempt commercial loans, taxable and tax-exempt bonds and state of Oklahoma economic development incentives.