December 20, 2007 – Over the last 10 years, Durant has created an environment that facilitates a thriving Downtown, making them December’s Main Street Community of the Month.
“Durant Main Street has made great strides in the last few years with exemplary streetscape improvements highlighted by the renovation of the historic Market Square. They have a lot to be proud of and a lot to show off, says Linda Barnett, Director of the Oklahoma Main Street Center, Oklahoma Commerce.
One of the latest and most important events has been the Market Square Streetscape Project and subsequent activities. On Dec. 2, 2006, they celebrated the completion of Streetscape Phase II.
“We are very proud of the redevelopment of Market Square. This project was designed to be a community gathering place,” says Donna Now, Program Manager for Durant Main Street.
In the one year since, they have hosted more than 47 public events that are bringing people back to the Square for good times.
“It is a place where the older citizens can remember and the younger citizens can create memories,” says Dow. “One of the most popular activities is our weekly Music on Market Square. It was scheduled for June and July on Thursday nights. Due to its popularity, it continued throughout August, September, and October. Everything was done on a volunteer basis. People were glad to participate because of the great hometown feeling and relaxed atmosphere.”
According to Dow, this project resulted in the rehabilitation of five buildings along the project area and a new business planning to move into these restored spaces. The new business will join six others that adjoin the project area.
“The jobs created by these businesses will add to the strength of our thriving Downtown. Music on Market Square was Downtown at its best, and none of this would have been possible without our Streetscape project on Market Square revitalizing the beautiful public space,” Dow says.
Since becoming a Main Street Community in 1997, Durant has seen over $8.8 million reinvested in their downtown. This includes a net gain in businesses of 127 and the creation of 91 new jobs. They have also logged over 33,000 volunteer hours since 2002.
“Because of the Main Street Program, Downtown Durant has a new streetscape with new sidewalks and handicap accessibility. This has helped to breathe new life into downtown. People are coming back to downtown who have not shopped downtown in years,” says Annette Armstrong, owner of Marie’s in downtown Durant.
“All of the Main Street Promotions throughout the year bring people to town as well. With the new life in downtown, more new retail businesses have made downtown Durant their home,” she says. “The new mix of retail businesses has helped to bring more shoppers to downtown. We have been in business for 30 years and business is stronger than ever.”
Oklahoma Main Street is a division of Oklahoma Commerce. For more information call 405-815-5171 or log on to www.okcommerce.gov./mainstreet.