Muskogee Commissioners Hope To Pass Hotel Tax To Attract More Businesses

Wednesday, August 17th 2016, 10:37 pm
By: News On 6

The City of Muskogee is getting new entrance "gateways" for its downtown.

The city says the towers at 3rd and Denison are the first set to welcome people into the downtown district. Another set will be installed Thursday at 3rd and Broadway.

Muskogee's "wayfinder" signs are up. The city hopes the decorative signs will point visitors to the hot spots and fun places around town.

Muskogee County Commissioners also hope voters approve a county hotel tax next Tuesday to help attract businesses to busy highway corridors.

One of the busiest highway corridors in the country comes through Muskogee. Hotels line Highway 69, and the city collects an eight percent tax on guests who stay there.

"We have a lot major state highways that come through our county that we're really just missing out on a lot of opportunity there," said County Commissioner Ken Doke.

Commissioners hope to attract hotel and retail development along the Interstate 40 corridor from Webbers Falls to Warner, in hopes of catching cross country travelers needing a place to rest.

One area elected officials say there could be growth, is just outside of Fort Gibson on Highway 62 where the Cherokee Casino is.

If the hotel tax existed, they could use that revenue to attract businesses to where Highway 10 will be rerouted.

Doke said, "This is going to be prime for retail development. We're looking at a place where maybe we could put in a hotel, or a nice convenience store or things like that, and that's going to generate revenue."

The five percent county hotel tax proposal before voters would go towards economic development and county infrastructure improvements.

"This is really designed to create an incentive for the county to get in and start recruiting hotels," said Doke.

If passed, the tax will only be imposed on hotels outside cities where a hotel tax doesn't exist. The tax would only affect hotel guests.

The vote will be held in Muskogee County for all residents August 23rd.