Okmulgee Business Owners Concerned Over Downtown Revitalization Plan
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma - Okmulgee businesses owners are worried a downtown revitalization plan is going to force them to shut down.
They said the plan will get rid of their customers’ parking. The two businesses said the upcoming downtown improvement project will get rid of street parking for customers.
The city said business owners had months to share their thoughts before the plan was approved.
Elizabeth Staudt owns OK Staudt Jewelers between Grand and Morton on 6th Street in Okmulgee. She said she recently found out about a downtown road project the city's planning to replace a 100-year-old water line and renovate the streets to make them pedestrian-friendly.
“Been in his location for 34 years. We’re a fine jewelry store and the last one left,” said Staudt.
People will no longer be able to park on both sides of the street near her business.
Staudt is worried it'll stop customers from coming.
“My customers are elderly they come up park, they get their watch battery and they're gone,” she said.
Brenda Shafer owns MedRight clinic on the same road. She said many of the patients have trouble walking.
"If they take parking away, I don’t know what we're going to do,” Shafer said.
They approached city councilors with their issues at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“It’s taken five years to get it across the finish line,” said councilman Richard Larabee.
Larabee said the women have had plenty of time to speak up at public meetings, but both said they never received notices from the city.
He said the street parking is going away to make room for tour buses stopping at the new Creek Nation Council House but said there will still be a drop off zone, and there will also be more new parking just a block away from the current street parking.
"We'll make our downtown a destination and a lot more walkable,” said Larabee.
The mayor told Staudt the council was considering all options before adjourning.
The project is delayed right now but the city expects to start before next spring.