The City of Claremore in Oklahoma has recently been recognized for its outstanding economic development programs. The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) awarded the city with three Excellence in Economic Development awards, highlighting the success of its various initiatives. The awards include a gold rank for the Connect Claremore Small Business Program, a silver rank for the Claremore Economic Development Business Retention – Blue Arc Expansion, and a bronze rank for the City of Claremore Housing Development Initiatives.
Each year, the IEDC acknowledges and honors the most remarkable economic development programs and initiatives from around the world. For Claremore, these accolades serve as a testament to the city’s efforts in fostering entrepreneurship, neighborhood and housing development, and retention and expansion. The recognition not only celebrates the achievements of the programs but also demonstrates the city’s commitment to growing its community.
Maggie Forman-Knight, the Executive Director of economic development in Claremore, discussed the city’s goal of further expanding its community. She mentioned that the focus was on addressing the “missing middle” in the city’s housing market. Claremore had a range of higher-end homes and entry-level options, but there was a need for more mid-range housing. To tackle this issue, the city implemented pre-permitted, pre-architecturally rendered housing, which allows developers to proceed more quickly and cost-effectively. This approach ensures that Claremore develops the types of housing that meet the community’s needs.
When asked about the inspiration behind the project, Forman-Knight mentioned that it was driven by feedback from the Claremore community. Concerns were raised about certain duplexes not blending well with the historical homes nearby. In response, pattern zoning was introduced to allow for duplex use while ensuring that the fronts of these properties seamlessly fit into the existing neighborhood.
Forman-Knight also highlighted the positive impact these initiatives will have on addressing Claremore’s housing shortage. With a shortage of around 450 houses per year, the city’s efforts will significantly contribute to meeting this demand. Moreover, the city expects the economic development programs to benefit small businesses, improve the overall happiness of residents, and attract more customers and potential residents to the area.
The recognition bestowed upon Claremore by the IEDC serves as a testament to the city’s commitment to economic growth and community development. By focusing on housing, small businesses, and retention and expansion, Claremore aims to create a thriving community that meets the needs and desires of its residents. These awards not only validate the city’s efforts but also inspire further progress and innovation in economic development programs.