An Enid industrial park could see some major upgrades, making it much more attractive to businesses.

Garfield County Industrial Authority plans soon to submit an application for a $788,000 federal grant to fund road, water, sewer and stormwater improvements at 54th Street Garfield County Industrial Park, located between Willow and U.S. 412.

Total cost of the project is $1.3 million. The grant is a 60/40 matching grant, meaning GCIA would have to come up with 40% of the funds. Enid Regional Development Alliance and Northern Okla­homa Department Auth­ority have been assisting in the planning and grant writing processes. And, the city of Enid might invest in the effort as well, with Enid city commissioners voting 7-0 during an Aug. 19 meeting to chip in $237,000, on condition that GCIA gets the grant.

“It’s another way we can incentivize business, by having publicly owned land that is shovel-ready, so that they can move right in and build something immediately,” Lisa Powell, ERDA executive director, said. “It helps facilitate development.”

Tyson Foods looms large in the park, but it is smaller operations that the project is meant for. The plan is to divvy up a large southern portion of the park into 4- to 7-acre parcels.

The southern part of the industrial park isn’t as well-developed, and new infrastructure and utilities will help get it ready for use.

One thing in Enid’s favor is that the industrial park is located in an opportunity zone, a designation established by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Opportunity zones are selected by the state, certified by the secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and defined by the IRS as areas designed to “spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities throughout the country.” Tax breaks and benefits are available to entities that invest capital in these zones.

There are two such zones in Enid, with the first stretching from North 16th to South 150th, encompassing Enid Woodring Regional Airport, Breckinridge and Fairmont, according to Oklahoma Department of Commerce. The second, much smaller zone rests in downtown Enid between Garriott and Willow.

It’s unknown how long it will take before there is any word once the grant application is submitted, but Powell hopes before the end of the year.

Getting this land ready for use by businesses would be a big boost for Enid and its economic development efforts.

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