Downtown Wagoner rebuilding planned after Wednesday's fire

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-28 19:12:15-05

WAGONER, Okla. -- Members of the Wagoner Art Alliance say their business has crumbled after a fire in July took the life of three businesses on Main Street.

“After the July fire when they shut down the traffic to one way and it cut parking in half, it stopped a lot of people from coming altogether," said Annita Wilson, President of the Wagoner Art Alliance.

It's a business which relies on foot traffic, which Wilson says has dropped 90 percent since the fire. Now to add to the hit, another building charred Wednesday morning right across the street from the Art Alliance.

“It’s discouraging to have a thriving downtown just die overnight,” said Wilson.

It's an eyesore for the businesses, visitors and city officials who had high hopes to revitalize the buildings burned back in July.

“We do have a plan of cleaning the other fire up but we’re so fresh to this one we don’t know what’s going to be the outcome on that," said Mayor Albert Jones.

The city's economic development authority purchased a majority of the property burned back in summer.

The city's morale was high with an upcoming announcement in January on the future of the buildings. Now the city having to deal with another setback in development.

“It’s very hard to swallow, to look at that and not be able to fix it because it is private ownership,” said Jones.

Not only did the city lose a building and gain another eyesore, but also lost recognition from the National Historic Registry.

“We’ll lose that historic designation for those buildings, but that doesn't mean we can’t build something nice and facade it so it still looks period,” said Jones.

The mayor said the city will move forward. For now by focusing on rebuilding the first burned buildings. Then figuring out what the property owner wants to do with the recently burned building.

As far as the investigation, the fire chief met with law enforcement and the fire marshal today, but nothing is expected to be released for at least a week.

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