Chamber unveils economic development plan
The Jenks Chamber of Commerce unveiled its economic development action plan for Jenks on Sept. 12. The plan has been named Elevate Jenks.
The plan, created in partnership with Community Growth Strategies, LLC, lays out five goals for the chamber based upon interviews, focus groups and a public forum. In total, more than 40 business leaders, civic leaders and citizens provided feedback for the plan.
“Jenks is one of Oklahoma’s fastest growing cities and its demographics lead the nation, the state, and the region in nearly every category,” said Jim Fram, consultant with CGS, adding that Jenks does not face demographic struggles the way some communities do.
For the plan, CGS presented five goals for the chamber to build a successful economic development program.
The first goal outlined in the report is for the chamber to establish an economic development division to ensure that Jenks has the resources needed to support business expansion, formation and attraction. CGS suggests the Chamber create an economic development-focused staff person to act as the primary point person for economic development in Jenks.
Also outlined as a goal was the need to build a strong sense of identity in Jenks as a magnet for talent in the Tulsa region. An actionable step for this goal includes organizing and participating in best practices trips to other communities.
The third goal outlined by CGS is to develop a marketing strategy for economic growth. Developing this plan would involve stakeholders from the community including Jenks Public Schools and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, which owns Riverwalk Crossing.
The fourth goal outlines a need to assist the city of Jenks in identifying areas that are prime for additional development. Further, the report suggests branding Jenks’ downtown area with a name and identity.
The final goal outlined in the report is to provide a regulatory environment and the infrastructure to support growth in Jenks. As part of this, the report suggests regular meetings with chamber and city staff in addition to city leadership to review the status of economic growth in Jenks.
“You have to develop an atmosphere of ‘getting it done’,” Fram said.
Other actionable steps for providing a regulatory environment include hosting developer roundtable events that allow developers and potential investors to have off-the-record conversations as well as regular meetings with Jenks schools’ leadership to continue developing partnerships and joint-use programs.
Suggestions for ongoing economic development initiatives include establishing bike lanes and trails throughout Jenks, working with elected officials to get the Main Street/U.S. 75 Highway interchange upgraded and rebuilt, and pursuing completion of river-related infrastructure initiatives, such as the 131st Street bridge and the low-water dam.
Karen Keith, Tulsa County Commissioner, District 2, gave remarks at the event. Dr. Ron Swager, CEcD, delivered a presentation titled, “Economic Development for Community Leaders.”
The Jenks Chamber of Commerce board of directors will review the economic development action plan in October for adoption and implementation.
This has been a news release from the Jenks Chamber of Commerce and has been edited to the Associated Press style by the Jenks Tribune staff.