The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 9, 2013

'An amazing time'

Alva concentrating on addressing city’s needs during oil, retail boom

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ALVA, Okla. — Business is booming, and growth in the oil industry is spreading expansion throughout the community.

“Things are still going well,” said Alexandra Mantz, with Alva’s Community and Economic Development Directors and director of Alva Chamber of Commerce. “People and businesses still call, interested in Alva.”

Play in the oil fields of northwest Oklahoma has to led to “amazing growth in Alva’s tax base, as well as increases in population.”

“We’ve got a lot of entrepreneurial businesses that have come in the last year,” Mantz said. “A lot of their interest is due to our growth.”

Like other cities benefiting from the oil boom, Alva has encounter an all too common problem — a housing shortage.

“We continue to have some housing issues,” she said. “There is new housing going in. People are building, which is exciting, but there is always a demand for housing here.”

Mantz said the thought in Alva was interest would wane and the calls for information about the city would slow down toward the end of the year.

“Things have definitely picked up since the new year and continue to be very busy,” she said. “Our calls have not dropped off for interest in Alva. If anything, we’re getting more calls than we were at the end of the year.”

Mantz said oil boom has kept current businesses busy and brought in others.

“Our restaurants are full. It’s an amazing time. We’ve had a lot of entrepreneurial businesses,” she said. “Their sales are amazing. They could certainly attest to that. As far as new business, we’ve got mom and pop retail stores opening up, a new gym ... things keep popping up.”

City Manager Joe Don Dunham said one hotel already has opened in Alva and another is being built.

He said Alva has experienced a second boom.

“We’ve had some retail come to town,” he said. “We’ve had a retail boom.”

With such growth and an increase in tax revenues, Alva is working to find the best avenues of growth, Dunham said.

He said there is a city initiated community effort to create a strategic plan for Alva with city officials and a group of community stakeholders.

The purpose is to ensure the city plans for future needs and not just with the current windfall from the oil boom.

“That’s always a concern, trying not take on more than what you can pay for in the long run,” Dunham said. “Right now, we’ve got a group of concerned citizens that are working on strategic plan for Alva that is about halfway through. We’re working through that process.”

Mantz said the city is focusing on its needs with the added revenue.

“At this point, like any municipality, we can’t spend it until we have it,” she said. “Our city is focusing on the needs of the city.”

Dunham said one of the top priorities for Alva is street  repairs.

“... Our streets are in dire need of attention,” he said.

He said larger projects are being considered with thoughts of overall costs and long-term operations. Dunham said the city is also considering other means of funding.

“We’re looking at different grants. That’s always a consideration,” he said, adding they must weigh the value of the grant with whether they can afford the matching funds.

“We’re weighing all our options. We’re not passing anything up. We’re looking at everything.”쇓