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OPINION: Ardmore's Downtown renewal continues to pick up steam

The Daily Ardmoreite

The Mercy Train parked in Ardmore’s downtown Depot District offers more than just a catchy headline. 

It’s a symbol of the past, present and future of Ardmore. 

Some will know the tragic history of the train and the relief it brought to Ardmore after the 1915 explosion. Others are aware of the efforts to relocate the behemoth and those responsible for the move. Today, most should be aware of the ongoing developments in the area. 

The progress happening downtown didn’t begin with the train. The planning started years before the move in countless meetings and community gatherings.

That progress is the the culmination of a public-private partnership, benefiting everyone in the area, and started like the slow creep of a train leaving the station.

Significant investments have been made into Ardmore’s Depot District. Millions of dollars in public funds as well as countless donations of both capital and labor from the community have been carefully laid out like a tracks that once crossed the frontier. 

We’ve already seen the planning, the investments and the commitment to renewal bear fruit. But much like the Mercy Train, the best is yet to come.

The foundations in downtown are still being laid. While it may be hard for some to see the forest for the trees, that growth is rapidly picking up steam.

Downtown Ardmore has come a long way in just a few short years, but in terms of the plans in place for the area, that train hasn’t even left the station. Not even a pandemic could derail the progress taking place downtown.

It’s been a short albeit bumpy ride for those making the decisions and though they’ve taken their lumps, they’ve been proven right in the end. 

And just like the first time the Mercy Train rolled into the station, downtown Ardmore is quickly becoming a beacon of prosperity for southern Oklahoma.