Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

December 28, 2012

TIF road project is only part of overall city vision

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — The most successful economic projects all have a turning point, which set off a wave of positive impacts and for Pauls Valley’s Tax Incremental Financing District, it all begins with a road.

It was during a recent Pauls Valley city council meeting that council members approved the engineering phase for the first step in a roadway project for the business district, a matter of relief and excitement for those like City Manager James Frizell and Mayor Tim Gamble. Handled by SMC Consulting Engineers, who has done engineering design work for the city in the past, the road eventually will offer a point of attraction for businesses who are looking to move to the South Central Oklahoma area.

“We have a sense of relief knowing that these businesses that are coming in that we can help by meeting their infrastructure needs instead of having to go out and encumber debt,” said Frizell. “To be able to continue to progress, to keep up with the demand, you’ve got to grow your business.”

What this engineering phase will do is prepare designs and plans for the road within a 75 day window, which includes aspects like paving and drainage since it falls in a flood plain area, said Frizell. It will take time to make sure the proper procedures as well as meeting Department of Environmental Quality requirements are met and a best case scenario would see work beginning by the late summer/early fall of 2013.

The road itself in this district will include about four blocks from an entrance on Highway 19 around the east side around Punkin’s Bar-B-Que toward US 77 in a north/south direction on a road already named Loftin Lane, said Frizell. According to the agreement, the eventual cost of construction will also be determined during this time period and the first phase will cost the city about $58,000 for everything from topographic survey to assisting with the pre-construction meeting as well as setting up the bidding process.

Eventually the road will even reach part of Indian Meridian by way of Oak Street about five or so years down the road, though it will progress as needed instead of being finished all at once, said Frizell. He noted how much of the property in the district is even owned by an area resident, who plans on selling the land a bit at a time and infrastructure and roads will be added as that increases.

To be clear there are certain areas within the TIF district that is developed like the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, but this road will be the first project of its kind that will set off a potential chain of events, said Frizell. There are already plans for a Tractor supply as well as at least one medical related office in the near future.

“We have made some improvements out there, just not anything major like the road we’re fixing to build out there,” said Frizell. “That’s going to be the first major step in the TIF district.”

In the end, a project like this is a part of the city’s continuing policy, which is to build tax revenue potential by investing in the basic needed services, said Gamble. The improvements to this district will eventually benefit the town as a whole, which will be able to afford to put even more funds toward improving infrastructure that’s been out of date for years.

“I’ve said it for 12 years, we run on pennies… If we don’t grow that, we can’t provide the services for our businesses or citizens,” said Gamble. “And with that growth we will have to revamp and improve our sewers, not only in the TIF, but outside it.”