Commissioners OK funding for infrastructure project

Muskogee County commissioners followed through on a pledge to match the city's investment to build out water and sewer infrastructure at John T. Griffin Industrial Park.

The $651,800 expenditure is expected to make Muskogee more attractive to companies that have expressed interest in the industrial tracts located south of the city. Commissioners will draw a portion of the county's share of American Rescue Plan Act funds to pay for the infrastructure upgrades.

District 1 Commissioner Ken Doke said ARPA "funds are somewhat restricted" in how they can be used. Sewer and water infrastructure, he said, is one of four major categories for which expenditures of those funds are authorized. 

The Muskogee City-County Port Authority recently approved the sale of real estate at John T. Griffin Industrial Park to “a potential investor” who has yet to be named. Port Director Kimbra Scott said these infrastructure improvements are “critical” to that deal and the future development of the industrial park. 

“These infrastructure projects are extremely important to the more the $1.2 billion investment that will be taking place at John T. Griffin,” Scott said.

District 3 Commissioner Kenny Payne said the company being courted is expected to create 100 new jobs that would pay above-average wages. He said the potential exists for a lot more to follow. 

"If you go fishing, that doesn't mean a thing unless you get one in the boat, and we all know that," Payne said. "But we've got some really fertile water we're fishing in right now — things are looking up — and I would just say with that $651,000 we are building for the future, and I ... I feel safe in saying that we will see results from this in the very near future."  

The combined investment by the county and city of $1.5 million bring water and sewer service to an area east of South 24th Street and along Smith Ferry Road. Anticipated improvements to Smith Ferry Road are expected to add another $1.2 million to the overall cost of the project.

City councilors approved an expenditure for the same amount from its share of ARPA funds Monday night during their regular meeting. 

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