Several new businesses are now open in Muskogee and more are on the way thanks to approval of an area master plan and new phases of an urban renewal effort.
The urban redevelopment has seen new box stores open in the past few months. The Three Rivers Plaza is home to Dick's Sporting Goods, Ulta Beauty and TJ Maxx. But not far from that development, south of the Shawnee Bypass there's a neighborhood that's seeing a transformation all its own.
Neighbors call it the Reeves Edition after a street that runs down its center. The people who know it as that are fewer now– many of the homes sit empty with yards overgrown. Owners sold their properties as part of the urban renewal effort.
Jarrod Barrera has lived in the area for more than a decade. He said in the past several months many of his neighbors have disappeared. The changes are coming almost too quickly to keep up with.
"It was all dirt roads so a lot of stuff has developed over the years anyway," Barrera said.
He is hopeful the changes will benefit the area– bringing more jobs and tax revenue. Assistant city manager Mike Miller said that's the goal and they are getting plenty of interest from big name companies.
"We want more things to do here. More retail certainly more restaurants. More entertainment, that kind of thing," Miller said.
The city is betting on the success. Much of the redevelopment is being paid for by a loan that will be paid back by a tax increment financing district, which allocates a portion of sales taxes over a limited period of time.
Miller said the goal is to get residents and visitors to spend money at Muskogee stores and restaurants rather than nearby urban centers.
Barrera said despite the massive changes in his own neighborhood, it will all be worth it if city leaders use the revenue to better Muskogee.
"If they will use the money right and help each other out. Fix the roads and everything," he said.
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