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Okemah Chosen for Economic Development Pilot Program

February 11, 2020

What does every community have in common with an automobile? Occasionally, both require a round of maintenance.

While a serious problem with an auto can take days and thousands of dollars to repair, regular service and the occasional tune-up can help avoid such problems, are much more affordable and generally performed in just one day.

Sometimes, that’s about all a community needs, too.  Something fast and affordable.  Just a simple tune-up, so to speak.

Well, that’s just what the PSO-served city of Okemah, Oklahoma is about to get.  A community tune-up.

At a special Chamber of Commerce luncheon held January 28, 2020, PSO Economic & Business Development Manager Janet Smith announced that Okemah had been selected to participate in a new community tune-up pilot program.

Developed and facilitated by Austin, TX-based ACCELERATION by Design LLC, the program’s goal is to provide communities with a fresh vision, education, and a plan for action. 

It all begins with a “windshield tour” and business district assessment.  A two-hour workshop is also included.  The most popular workshop topics are Economic Development 101, Downtown Revitalization, Marketing and Business Retention & Expansion, to name a few.

“From time to time, a community can benefit from the viewpoint of fresh and unbiased eyes to note not just its awesome assets, but also the areas that need attention,” says Smith.  “With this pilot program, we hope to get a better sense of how effective we can be with this new approach.”

Within two weeks following the assessment and workshop, Okemah will receive two digital reports: one on the windshield tour, and one on the business district assessment.  The reports will included video, visuals, recommendations and resources for action plans.

Once the reports have been received, it will be up to Okemah to take the next step. 

Smith says it’s important to understand that for the program to be successful, there is work to do in the community after they receive the feedback.  That begins with implementing the action plans.

But if the program does proves successful in Okemah, then PSO may consider offering it to other communities.

“When it comes to economic development, we want to help all the cities and towns we serve to run like a well-maintained automobile,” says Smith.  “For some, a little tune-up may be all they need.”   

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