Renovations Underway For Downtown Muskogee

Monday, June 26th 2017, 7:11 pm

Muskogee has big plans to revitalize downtown.

It's an urban renewal plan built on bringing back the old downtown.

The idea is as simple as it is expensive: repair the sidewalks and streets, fix up some of the old buildings, and shoppers will come back.

In the downtown buildings that have been renovated business is good.

But there are still plenty of empty storefronts and in those windows, Lee Ann Langston sees endless opportunity.

"It's basically empty and they're using it for storage," says Langston, of Muskogee Main Street. "It's an old Sears. You can look in here and there's a ton of space not being used."

Muskogee Main Street helps drive new public and private investment downtown, trusting the idea that more people walking means more people shopping.

They want to repair the many buckled spots in the sidewalks and reconfigure streets to slow down traffic..

"We're going to narrow Main Street down to two lanes," Langston says. "Fix the sidewalks, tear them out and bring them out for downtown dining and stuff like that."

New places are opening and renovating — like Broadway Bakery — but for every project, there's another one that needs to be done.

At Michael's Jewelry they're just beginning a renovation.

"Just revealing the brick a little, some painting, we're hoping to give it some charm, that downtown old feel," says Julie Kolmer, of Michael's Jewelry.

The investment is based on what Muskogee can be.

"I think Muskogee could again be very nice," Kolmer says. "Everybody has a downtown they like, because of the history and I think we have a lot of history here in Muskogee."

The urban renewal district includes all of downtown Muskogee and the hope here is that once these plans turn into projects, a huge transformation will happen.