The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


October 28, 2012

Potential taxpayer help in ‘de-malling’ calls for developer openness

The plan for “de-malling” Oakwood Mall is moving forward.

Enid City Commission today will hold the first of two public hearings on a Tax Increment Financing district to help with construction costs for the project. Eventual passage of the TIF would be a big step in getting the project started.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who haven’t heard much from company officials who plan to buy the mall and go through with the project. Those people are local business owners and managers who certainly will be affected.

The plan, outlined in June by James Dill, of Vector Properties, would turn the mall into an outdoor regional shopping center and boost its taxable valuation. The plan calls for construction of buildings on the front side of the mall property and moving current tenants into them. The mall itself will be destroyed, except for anchor stores Dillard’s, JCPenney and Sears, which will be maintained and new facades built.

However, several business owners are wondering what’s going to happen and when it will happen, since they haven’t heard anything.

Granted, the project is a private one, but as the TIF situation shows, the public — and public money — is involved.

That’s why we would hope the developer takes a more proactive approach.

The owners and employees of businesses that will be affected deserve to know what’s going on, as does the public. Vector officials need to be out front on this. They need to be talking with business owners, sharing the vision with them and letting them know where the project currently stands.

It would be good business to reassure both owners and the public the project remains on track.

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