Old Chinese Proverb: The Best Time To Plant A Tree? 100 Years Ago. The Second Best Time? Today.
For the next few months I’m going to offer up some insights into the development items we need in the Okmulgee County area. A different item each month. To kick it off, let’s talk about land.
Right now in Okmulgee County we have four industrial parks or areas. The Okmulgee Business Complex on North Highway 75, The Okmulgee Regional Airport Industrial Park, the Okmulgee South Industrial Park, just south of Okmulgee on Banyon Road, and what we have called the West Industrial Area on West 20th Street, for many years. The West Industrial area is home to CP Kelco, Paccar Winch, Thompson Pump, and Coca Cola Distribution Center. With four industrial areas, a person might think the Okmulgee County area is very well prepared for industrial growth for the foreseeable future. Well, Yes and No.
The Okmulgee Business Complex is about 70 acres zoned Industrial Heavy and about 20 acres zoned Commercial General. To some that may sound like a lot of land. In the last year our office has received Requests For Proposals (RFPs) from companies looking for up to 2,000 acres. We received six RFPs in the last year that were looking for over 600 acres. At least the OBC has rail, that seems to be gaining favor in recent years. Each of our industrial areas have their own unique situations and oddities. We try our best to market to those special circumstances.
So for Okmulgee County communities to stay in the game we need to be planting trees now. That means we not only need to identify land in the county that would be physically acceptable as a industrial park, but also land that would have a willing seller. We also need to have the political will to figure out how to resource the money it takes to buy the land and then develop it. With that sentence I feel like I just mowed down a seedling. Right now our political jurisdictions over the entire county are just trying to keep the bills paid, and little else.
We’ll have to have a plan for the infrastructure, that can easily be many times the price of the land investment. Land costs are hyper inflated right now because of all the rural greenhouses that have been built. So that makes the tree even harder to grow.
So if we’re broke, we need additional land and we still haven’t built out the land we have institutional control over, is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Well yes there is. In the past (In another county) when I needed to have property to show. We would find farmers and ranchers who were willing to sell their land for industrial development. Of course we had some restrictions as to access to water & sewer, high voltage power, natural gas line(s), good roads, out of the flood plain, well you get the idea. We would then reach an agreement on what the asking price was, how many acres were available, and a key to the gate with permission to show the land. The economic development team would not act or imply that they were brokers and we would never charge for connecting a prospective buyer to the land owner. Using this system I could literally show several thousand acres of land with only a couple of days notice.
Now that most companies want all the industrial level utilities on site so they can immediately start construction. Not having those assets will be an impediment. But, at least we can answer the RFP when they need more land than we own. That get’s our name out to site selection consultants, even if our chances are slim.
So here’s where you the reader figure into the plan to plant a tree. If you own land you think is worth developing, call or write us. Our team will make and appointment, drive out and put our eyes on the property and then talk about the future. The only thing it will cost you is a little of your time.
We recently received an RFP for a company whose requirements actually fit Henryetta better than any other community in Okmulgee County. The only hold back on submitting a proposal, we didn’t have any information on the land/building, nor permission to offer it for sale or lease.
So please, if you are the least bit interested in planting a tree for Okmulgee County’s future, give us a call, 918-938-0970 we’d love to talk to you about your land or building. Let’s get together and get our hands dirty. If you’re not familiar with the Okmulgee Area Development Corp. visit our website at ChooseOkmulgee.com. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go plant a tree.