Developing Choctaw’s Downtown District

The site of a proposed mixed-use space is a vacant city lot located on Main Street. The property is immediately north Design process begins for proposed Main Street buildingof the Choctaw Times office.

Design process begins for proposed Main Street building

City officials have taken action to officially begin the planning process for a proposed building on Main Street.
During the March 5 regular City Council meeting Choctaw officials approved a proposal for consulting and design services with Bockus Payne Architecture.
The agreement authorized the firm to begin the designing phase with a total cost to the city of no more than $36,000.
City officials hope the construction of a building

This rendering depicts how Downtown Choctaw could one day look. The futuristic view is from Gilbert Street, looking south on Main Street. The landscape features mixed-use buildings that embrace turn-of-the century style architecture and a train depot as the terminus of Main Street. Sidewalks provide ample space for pedestrians, landscaping features and possible outdoor dining. A gateway at Main Street and 23rd Street informs both vehicular traffic and pedestrian movement that they have arrived in Downtown Choctaw, the center of Oklahoma’s oldest chartered town.

on city owned land, located on the southeast corner of Main and Gilbert Street, will help kick start the city’s downtown plan.
Early goals have the city owning a two or three story building on that currently vacant lot. The city would then lease out first floor space to retail clients, second floor space for offices and possibly third floor space as residential units.
“In order to get to that plan we need to look at the options that they come up with. They may bring us some plans that turn out to be more expensive than we anticipated, and if so we can tweak them. But this puts a cap of $36,000 on what that total design process will cost the city,” explained City Manager Ed Brown to the City Council last Tuesday night.
The end product provided by Bockus Payne Architecture is to be a preliminary design and schematic design of the proposed building including detailed site and floor plans.
“We should be able to use that design to get a good price estimate, and then we’ll be able to determine if we want to continue going down this road or bench the project for a while. This will give us options,” said Brown.
The preliminary designs will also allow the city to begin marketing to potential tenants.
Ward 1 City Councilman Ron Bradshaw lives near the proposed building site, and believes the project will be a welcome addition to his neighborhood.
“I’ve lived in Ward 1 of Choctaw my entire life. I’m real familiar with this area, and feel it really has a lot to offer. I hope to see improvements. I can already walk to my gym and local restaurants. Everything I need is right here in Choctaw’s Downtown District,” said Bradshaw.
“There have been some rumors that eminent domain might happen, but I think that has been squelched. We can’t legally do that. I hope to see sidewalks going throughout my ward, and we should have a building going up at the corner of Main and Gilbert. We already have a lot of interest in that location. We don’t know if we’re going the full route, but we might even have condos on top. We have a brewery that is interested in that spot, and some other potential businesses we think people around here will love. We want downtown Choctaw to be a destination. We don’t want it to just be a drive through zone. I find myself not even leaving Choctaw some weeks. It’s really becoming a cool area.”
The recently adopted plan for the Choctaw Downtown District is a separate and more focused document than the city’s comprehensive master plan.
The downtown plan, drafted by Freese and Nichols, Inc., was made possible by the Eastern Oklahoma County Partnership through funding by the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration.
The plan creates a loose outline of what Choctaw’s Downtown District could become in the next 25 or so years. The plan aims to make downtown Choctaw a destination incorporating three unique elements: local character, natural beauty and community gathering spaces.
The district is meant to encourage and embrace a combination of retail and residential development to better serve residents and attract visitors to downtown Choctaw in years to come.

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