chelsea levo feary

As we prepare for a new year, Owasso’s reflection from past growth and prosperity will continue to pave the way for a promising year in 2020.

Commercial and residential development is sprawling and downtown development is blooming with new investment. Owasso businesses are interacting amid Owasso’s growth, forming partnerships and creating opportunity. From small town to retail mecca to sustainable and supportive metro suburb, our community continues to successfully evolve with time.

A decade ago, our community awaited the opening of the next big retail center. Year after year, the most frequently asked question has been, “What’s coming to town?” and “When are we going to get a Red Lobster?” Retail development has tapered as Owasso has filled out, but we are still attracting new businesses to our community to include more local/Oklahoma dining and entertainment options for families. The Red Lobster franchise is not expanding, so we are looking for other seafood restaurant options to locate here in the future. Several entertainment options are also being studied and considered for Owasso, so stay tuned. Your voice is important and we are listening.

Owasso’s Redbud District has been blooming with new activity. In the past year, SEVEN6MAIN has filled out its building on 76th Street; the Mowery Building opened and filled out its Main Street side with tenants; the businesses came together to organize a Holiday Open House; and the new Redbud Festival Park reintroduced a former holiday tradition with the “Lights On” event. This new park will begin programming in spring 2020 to attract many to our Redbud District. Between the Gathering on Main, existing and new businesses, and the park, this District will be generating a lot of activity for years to come.

Some major activity but less noticeable is the inward focus on our existing businesses. The Owasso Economic Development Strategic Plan, launched in Feb. 2018, called for a comprehensive business retention and expansion program. In 2019, BusinessTHRIVE kicked off in July with the intent to focus on our existing businesses — our most important investors. This program has been actively engaging businesses and inviting people to connect. With monthly industry roundtable meetings and individual business meetings, the economic development department of the city is reaching out to our existing businesses to link them to resources and to each other. Look for this program to continue and evolve. If your business is contacted by the Economic Development Department to participate in a roundtable meeting, please take advantage of this opportunity to interact with like-industries.

Another inward-focused program is one launching at the beginning of the New Year. Encore Owasso is a new program focused on retired professionals in the community. This program will begin surveying retirees and businesses to gauge interest and needs. The objective is to identify retirees who are interested in (1) mentoring professionals in small businesses, (2) placing retirees in part-time positions with local businesses, and/or (3) assisting retirees with entrepreneurial interests in starting new ventures or businesses. Encore Owasso offers the opportunity to engage retirees, reestablish relevancy and increase overall productivity and health within both retirees and Owasso businesses.

Construction and expansion will also be an ongoing theme in 2020. We have some major road construction getting ready to start with the expansions of both E. 76th St. N. and N. Garnett Rd. between E. 96th St. N. and E. 106th St. N. There are also a couple of commercial projects on the brink of announcement. Progress takes patience, and this year will require much of it to appreciate the growth and continued success of our community.

We know you have many consumer options and so much of it at your fingertips, so we ask you to spend some time in your community this year. Patronize the businesses, recreate in our parks and make memories in the Redbud District. Thank you for being a part of this community. Let’s make 2020 “Owassome”!