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Work on 2nd Street development finally starts

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LAWTON, Okla. - Digging finally started on Lawton's 2nd Street retail project. Gas crews began working on a gas line Wednesday that will run several blocks to provide gas to the Kohl's store.

"Well of course it's exciting and we're thrilled about it but it's something that was supposed to happen several months ago," said Mayor Fred Fitch.

Financing delays and changes in plans postponed the start date. Plus, nothing else can start until this groundwork is complete. He said the following work should follow like dominoes.

"Maybe the dominoes won't go quite as fast as we would like but when you're dealing with a project the magnitude of this and with the many different entities and all the people who have tasks to make this deal work and getting it all to come together and mesh."

With all those delays, he said Kohl's ideal opening in October is now out-of-reach. Now, he said they'll be hard-pressed to open by the end of the year.

"They would like to be open by the Christmas season, but boy is it going to be tight."

He predicts the foundation for Kohl's being poured in the next 45 days. Then about 15 days later, a ground breaking at the hotel-conference center. No more announcements as to what other stores will accompany Kohl's in the shopping center, but he said once Kohl's is in, the others will be like dominoes too.

"When dominoes start falling, dominoes fall. And you know how that is. When you get PID and the hotel-conference center out of the ground, you get kohl's out of the ground, there will be more dominoes to fall."

There are still a lot of buildings in the way of this development.

A year ago, the city hoped work on the Hilton-Garden Inn hotel and conference center would start summer 2010. It was then pushed back to this past January and now, this summer. The city said financing has been the biggest hurdle, but they say most of that money is in line now and they are almost ready to go.

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