Representatives from the Valero Ardmore Refinery met with members of the Ardmore Main Street Authority and city leaders in front of the Mercy Train Wednesday afternoon to present a check for $100,000. This money will be used for the construction of Depot Park and represents a major step forward in its fundraising efforts.
Kevin Lassahn,Valero Ardmore Refinery general manager, said awards of this size must be approved by the company’s corporate office and require a lengthy application process.
“Large grants like this come from the Valero Foundation which is out of our corporate office in San Antonio, and it actually takes the approval of the CEO of the company,” Lassahn said. “It also requires substantial local coordination to communicate the need and the vision of the project and how it will impact the community,”
He added that members of the company’s corporate community relations team visited the city in July to attend the Valero United Way BBQ Showdown. Despite being one of the company’s smaller refineries, the event is the largest United Way fundraiser in the entire company. They were blown away by both the community’s support of the event and the many improvements taking place in the new Depot District.
Sara Donaho Jones, community relations adviser, said the Showdown provided the corporate visitors the opportunity to get a feel for the city.
“They know our refinery is awesome, and it was a great way for them to see some of the other things happening in town,” Jones said. “I think this investment really shows we’re not going anywhere and are committed to seeing the city grow.”
Lassahn concurred with Jones’ opinion.
“Valero is obviously very interested in the success of Ardmore. We’ve partnered with the chamber and the Ardmore Development Authority to do studies about ways to improve and grow the city which will help attract additional businesses,” Lassahn said. “Quality of life is a big piece of that, and we really feel this park will be an anchor to the improvements happening downtown which will improve Ardmore’s quality of life. It will help grow the population and help us attract and retain new professionals.”