Guest column: Playing the long game
It’s been a big and exciting week at the Ardmore Development Authority. On Wednesday we joined multiple partners to announce the development of the Global Transportation & Industrial Park (GTIP) at the Ardmore Industrial Park. Like most things in economic development, this took a lot of time and patience.
GTIP lays the groundwork for jobs and economic diversification throughout all of Southern Oklahoma, not just at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark or just in Ardmore. In very basic terms this means that over time existing businesses will get new customers that are either moving to the area for a job or who already live here but get a better job. New businesses will be started to serve a variety of needs because of development. Increased professional and industrial jobs then lead to more restaurants and retail opportunities.
This trickle effect also takes time, but it is already happening throughout Southern Oklahoma. If you haven’t driven through some of the smaller communities lately, do it. New construction and remodeling are happening everywhere. I drove past a small, older center last week that has been dilapidated since I was in high school in the late 1990s. Seeing stacks of construction materials in the parking lot made me happy. Then just down the road is a new slab ready for a building that will be home to multiple small businesses. Just a little further down the road a new convenience store is being built to replace the existing store. All of this is happening because of investments made years ago in a variety of businesses both large and small.
GTIP and its initial $124 million investment are just the beginning of things to come. Growth follows development. Stay tuned, Ardmore. Exciting things are coming!
— Andrea Anderson is the Vice President of Economic Development for the Ardmore Development Authority.