From its humble beginnings of a ‘plowed ditch’ for a Main Street to now, 132 years later, the City of Ardmore is enjoying a revitalization of its downtown Main Street area.
From Washington Street on the west to D Street on the east, Main Street is undergoing significant changes that includes a total revitalization of the streetscape, ‘back-in’ parking, and creation of a center median, all adorned with beautiful trees and flowers along the sidewalks and streets.
For decades, Ardmore has had the traditional style of downtown - 2 lanes of traffic, pull-in parking, shops, offices, and a few restaurants. But now, the $4 million Main Street revitalization project is changing everything: the look, the feel and best of all, the economy!
According to City Manager, JD Spohn, the revitalization project was the brainchild of long-time Ardmore resident, former Mayor and current City Council member, Martin Dyer. During his 40-plus years as a public servant, including being named as a Mayor of the Year by the Oklahoma Municipal League, Dyer has been instrumental in conceiving ideas to help the City of Ardmore stay relevant as the business, cultural, and tourism destination in Carter County.
Today, a drive down Main Street shows great progress and improvement, all the while maintaining the original charm of 1887.
Spohn said that the purpose of the revitalization project was to bring new life and vitality to the once-thriving area. The result has been almost immediate as not only are existing Ardmore businesses are relocating to downtown, but new businesses are developing, as well. To assist with the refurbishing of the old buildings, the City of Ardmore offers grants that many of the business and building owners are taking advantage of to update their store facades.
In addition to the first floors revitalization of the buildings, second-floor redevelopment is occurring in the form of lofts. Spohn noted that the entire composition of the Main Street area is changing due to this project. “It is very exciting to have all the new interest and development in our downtown area. It has exceeded anything that we might have imagined. This original vision of Mr. Dyer and the buy-in from our citizens and business owners has been amazing,” Spohn said.
What does the future hold for downtown Ardmore? More redevelopment. Spohn said that the City has already begun Phase II of the project, that will extend east to D Street and encompass the newly branded Depot District. “Interest is already occurring for new business development in this area, as people are purchasing many of the original brick buildings. These buildings will be saved as much as possible, with new buildings being built to meet the demands of this new growth area,” Spohn said.
Spohn was quick to add that all the revitalization of Main Street and the downtown area has been a great boon to the local economy, but as importantly is the boon to the town’s quality of life for their residents.
To learn more about the City of Ardmore, please visit their website: www.ardmorecity.org