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Waurika Downtown Improvements Complete

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WAURIKA Okla_ Waurika's downtown Main Street has a brand new look, but this wasn't just your typical street improvement project.

After months of preparation, work began on the $90,000 project at the beginning of August. Now that the improvements are complete, officials say this small stretch of historic road has become a source of pride for the city.

From the get-go, the project to make downtown smooth sailing was anything but smooth. City Manager Chuck Brown said despite the project becoming bigger than anticipated, he said he along with several members of the community couldn't be more proud of the historical, economical and beautiful investment into the city of Waurika.

For years, it was clear that downtown Waurika was in dire need of some work.

"We really thought it would be a short-term project," Brown said. "In fact, the guy that did most of the work figured it would be about four weeks and $20,000."

Major labor turnover forced the project to hit some major snags, though.

"We'd get them trained, and then we'd lose them," Brown said.

Four months, $90,000 and some historical brick moving from one end of the street to the other, and downtown has become efficient once again. Brown gives credit to folks in town who were willing to help out in any way they could.

"We had lots of people donate lots of time, money and energy to this project and we just can't thank them enough," Brown said.

Potholes have been filled, and even flood risks have lowered, proving that the project was long overdue. Brown said for the city though, these bricks mean much more than just a regular street improvement.

"A lot of citizens wanted to keep the brick for historical value," he said. "You know, once you change that, it's gone. These bricks aren't being made anymore."

It's precious historical value that Waurika wants to use to its economic advantage.

"We're not looking for that large, 30, 40, 50,000 person manufacturing center," Brown said. "We're looking for the 2, 3, 4-person mom-and-pop stores. It's something we intend to work towards. We've maintained our historical heritage, and it's worth what we had to do."

Now even though the city ended up spending $70,000 more than they had originally anticipated, Brown said it was one of their cheapest road projects in recent years. The city hopes to maintain all that work in the future in order to keep costs down and historical value up.



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