Guest column: Ardmore's time to shine

The Daily Ardmoreite
Mita Bates, IOM, CCE

This week is definitely Ardmore’s “Time to Shine”!

Wednesday, the Ardmore Development Authority will join Congressman Tom Cole, Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation, state and community leaders to announce a new project at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark. This project is the culmination of extensive work by multiple partners to realize the potential of the Airpark as a multimodal transportation hub.

Projects such as the one at the Airpark are the result of commitment by community leaders to ensure Ardmore is poised to compete with continued investment in infrastructure, buildings and an aggressive marketing campaign. The announcement on Wednesday is just the beginning! This effort is bolstered by additional funding from grant applications, appropriations and private investment. The partnership with the City of Ardmore has already resulted in the rehabilitation of existing sewer infrastructure and the impending construction on a new wastewater treatment facility. The ADA is continuing infrastructure upgrades with water and fire suppression capacity expansion.

Activity is occurring in other areas of Ardmore as well. Stay tuned for additional announcements to be made in the third and fourth quarter of this year. The new industries will continue to diversify our economy as well as grow Southern Oklahoma.

A key metric for measuring the economic health and prosperity of a community is the investment of existing industry, as an indicator of retention and expansion. 2020, a year that included the worst pandemic in over 100 years, still resulted in $70.9 million of investment by existing employers! This level of investment further solidifies Ardmore as one of the fastest growing communities in the area.

Thursday evening, we will gather for the Annual Chamber Banquet. This event will celebrate the accomplishments of 2020 and honor community leaders with the BancFirst Small Business of the Year Award, the Bob & Mollyann Cypert Leadership Award and the FUEL “Rising Star” Award.

This is a great week for Ardmore, and it will definitely be “Our Time to Shine!”

— Mita Bates is the president and CEO of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce.