Housing tops ADA future planning agenda

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
News alert

The Ardmore Development Authority held a planning session last week to determine what goals and projects the organization would like to see come into fruition in the upcoming fiscal year which will begin on July 1. The discussion focused on both specific goals as well as funding opportunities which may become available.

One of the key discussion items focused on housing — or the lack thereof — available in the area.

Andrea Anderson, Director of Marketing and Industry Relations, explained.

“Everyone in Ardmore knows that we are in a tight supply of both houses to own and houses to rent,” Anderson said. “With all of the development and increases in both industrial and retail business we need houses.”

To address this situation the ADA is looking into funding a housing study to get a grasp on the housing situation as it stands as well as what kinds of housing need to be developed in the future. Anderson said the last time the ADA did a similar housing study in 2004, and the results of that study helped lead to the development of Hickory Ridge.

“We want to find out what we can do and what we need to do to take a comprehensive look at the entire situation in the community — everything from renters to first-time buyers, to families looking to upgrade into larger homes,” Anderson said. “We really want to figure out all of the nuances.”

Anderson said the board felt strongly about reaching out to companies specializing in housing studies to determine if that is something the organization wants to do. Currently the ADA is reaching out to companies to determine which ones have worked in Oklahoma and worked in communities with a population similar to Ardmore. Once the right company is discovered the board will vote on whether or not to do the survey.

The board also discussed the opportunity to receive funding from a recently-revived earmark program in the House of Representatives. Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla) had originally requested $50 million for the ADA and told the House Appropriations Committee that it would be used “to pay for replacing the infrastructure required to expand the (Ardmore) airport so that it can accommodate more large aircraft for import and export of cargo.”

Anderson said since Cole made his initial request, the House has put in place a new set of guidelines and a cap of $5 million, but the organization is working with the Congressman Cole to go after the earmark.

“With the $5 million cap we’re looking at what the most pressing issue is and what’s going to be the most beneficial to increasing air cargo capacity,” Anderson said. “We’re working on making those adjustments to our list, and we should have that ready to submit quickly.”