Collinsville Revitalizes Downtown Area With Help From State Program


Wednesday, October 10th 2012, 5:37 pm
By: News On 6


A Green Country city is being touted as an example of downtown development.

Currently, 97% of the buildings in downtown Collinsville are occupied.

Downtown Collinsville has seen tremendous growth since the turn of the century.

Economic leaders there say the state's Main Street program has been a key reason why.

Too Blonde Salon has been in downtown Collinsville for six years.

"I love our downtown. I wouldn't change anything about our downtown," said salon owner Kelli Blevins.

Across the street, the Must Be Trendy consignment shop is one of the newer stores in the city.

It's been there for a year and a half.

"We have people come from Bartlesville, Foyil, just all over the place," said owner Tracy Smith.

Both businesses have cashed in on the growth Collinsville has seen since joining the Main Street program.

It's an Oklahoma Department of Commerce program that helps communities revitalize their downtown areas through historic preservation.

As an example, in Collinsville, a building that used to be a bank is now an ice cream shop.

Collinsville joined the Main Street program in 2000, and since then $10 million has been invested into downtown Collinsville.

There are a number of ways the Main Street program helps—one is through facade development where business owners are encouraged to rebuild downtown buildings.

In Collinsville, the owner can be reimbursed up to $2,000.

Mary Risley is with the city's downtown development authority.

"Property values, since we've been doing the facade grants, have more than tripled on Main Street and when I started in this program we had seventeen empty storefronts. Now, we have three," Risley said.

"We're seeing a lot of businesses being restored. People are really taking pride in their property here," Blevins said.

Blevins said she has enjoyed watching the city grow.

She and Smith, across the street, said the downtown development has helped bring the community together.

"We have some great stores down here," Smith said. "I think people are very surprised when they come in here. I have people come in here from all over, all the time and they just can't believe what we have in downtown Collinsville."

The Main Street program is also helping the downtown districts in Miami, Claremore, Sapulpa, and Okmulgee.

It also has two urban programs in Tulsa, in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood and Red Fork.

8/7/2012 Related Story: Kendall Whittier Park Project Part Of Whole Neighborhood Revitalization