Strengthening small business beyond downtown, community policing and a new on-street parking system were among actions taken by the Oklahoma City Council Tuesday.
The Commercial District Revolving Loan Fund made its first loan as of Tuesday’s council vote.
A new bakery called “Confections” will open before Valentine’s Day, 2018 as a result.
Sarah Miller has secured a $35,000 loan from the fund, established as a new project of the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
After the council took action Free Press talked to Miller by phone.
“It’s exciting to have this opportunity,” said Miller. “The next step is to find a suitable space to lease in Capitol Hill along SW 25th street.”
She originally thought she had a landlord committed to a space, but then she got word the space had been leased.
When she talked to us, she was on her way to meet with two other commercial property owners in Capitol Hill.
Amanda Alewine, Associate Planner for the city, said the program has taken this long to find the right fit for the first loan.
“We specifically look for an applicant that a bank will not look at for a business loan because they seem high-risk,” said Alewine. “But a good risk for us is someone who has a strong business plan.”
Miller is a good fit for the program because she has training and experience in the type of bakery work she is doing, as well as experience in other areas, said Alewine.
The program’s goals are (1) job creation, and, (2) stabilizing commercial districts around the city, but outside of downtown.
The loan has to be secured. In Miller’s case, she put up her home as collateral.
The interest rate is 2 percent and has to create at least one job that creates one job per #35,000 increments of the loan.
The council voted to accept a $371,500 Safe Oklahoma grant from the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office.
The grant was given in response to an application by the Oklahoma City Police Department to establish more intensive community policing on the south side of the city.
The grant will allow for overtime pay for officers to do door-to-door surveys and more intensive patrol efforts to reduce violent crime in a 6.2 square mile area.
New parking meters
Jason Ferbrache, public transportation and parking director, gave an update on the all-new, high-tech parking meter systems to be installed starting Dec. 1.
The new meters will allow residents to type in their tag number at the meter, or take a photo of their plate and use an app to communicate the plate to the system.
Parking enforcement vehicles will have license plate recognition systems that will check plates with the central system to see if vehicle is legally parked.
Ferbrache told the council they are estimating an additional $640,000 per year will be come into city coffers from the new parking system.