To foster growth locally, Enid Regional Development Alliance is focusing on fun, interim executive director Lisa Powell said.

The people want entertainment, Powell said, and the more Enid can provide, the more people will come and the more they will want to stay.

“If people love living in Enid, then we are able to better support the growth of our existing companies and can begin recruiting new industry to the area,” Powell said.

Billion-dollar goal

City of Enid leaders want to reach $1 billion in total retail sales by 2025, a goal that has seen steady progress throughout the years, Powell said, and one that ERDA seeks to help along.

In 2010, the city saw $650 million in retail sales, and in 2018 it saw $815 million.

Former ERDA Director Brent Kisling left in January to serve as newly elected Gov. Stitt’s Department of Commerce executive director, and Powell has filled in with six years left on the clock to reach the billion-dollar goal.

“The past 10 years has seen historic levels for investment in our infrastructure, quality of life venues and private industry growth,” she said. “This investment must continue.”

She and Kisling opened the ERDA office a decade ago, Powell said, and it’s grown tight-knit enough since then that even Kisling’s departure hasn’t caused much trouble.

“When you have an office as small as ours, everyone has to work on everything in order to accomplish it all,” she said. “And this is also the reason that we are able to seamlessly continue the work of ERDA after Brent’s move.”

‘Great place to live’

In addition to $1 billion in retail sales, Powell said ERDA wants to make Enid a “Top 5 City” in Oklahoma.

Most of ERDA’s efforts are behind the scenes, she said, including involvement in finding alternative water sources for the city, providing affordable housing, supporting the medical sector, and “removing barriers to growth” for area businesses.

“These are things we need to become a Top 5 City and to see a billion in sales tax revenue by 2025,” Powell said. “It is an ongoing effort, and anyone in Enid can be a part of making Enid a great place to live.”

Though she’s been nominated ERDA director on an interim basis, Powell said she wouldn’t mind taking the lead for longer.

“Enid is my hometown,” she said. “I would love to become the executive cirector on a permanent basis.”

Ultimately, the ERDA board will make that call, she said.

ERDA board chairwoman Martie Oyler said a six-member search committee was put together Feb. 14 and the committee will release a posting for the position in March to begin the application process.

A final selection is expected to be made by late spring or early summer, Oyler said.

Story provided by Enid News & Eagle

Written by: Mitchell Willetts