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October 16, 2012

City councilors launch incentive district in western Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — Stillwater City councilors created a retail business and commercial development incentive district Monday.

The district will include all commercially zoned properties along West Sixth Avenue, west of Sangre Road within city boundaries.

The area, to be called “Six West Incentive District Number 1,” is a first for the city.

According to a resolution creating the district, the city had identified several areas within the city as potential commercial and retail development districts including the East Sixth Avenue area, the South Perkins Road area, the North Main Street/Boomer Road area and the West Sixth Avenue area at an Oct. 24, 2011, meeting.

Councilor Philip Pina asked how City Manager Dan Galloway and City Attorney John Dorman decided the West Sixth Avenue incentive district should be implemented first.

This area would be the most straightforward, as East Sixth Avenue is “less cohesive” and North Main street has a number of abandoned buildings, Galloway said.

Mayor John Bartley said he thought the incentive district’s wording was similar to the wording in the resolution that created the Downtown Business Improvement District.

Galloway said the downtown district assesses fees to business owners for improvements. The fees are used for downtown improvement only.

“This one does not assess the owner,” he said.

Bartley discussed the city’s incentive package that brought Olive Garden to Stillwater last year. Bartley opposed the package which rebates 1 percent of the city’s 3.5 percent sales tax to the restaurant chain for up to 10 years. The rebate is capped at $500,000.

The Six West resolution doesn’t create incentives, but gives Galloway freedom to negotiate incentives that ultimately will have to be approved or rejected by city councilors.

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