A LONG TIME AGO, IN AN ECONOMY FAR AWAY…Ponca City went through some tough economic times. A company town no longer, the community faced some severe economic headwinds, more than once we might add. Fast forward to today. The economy is resilient, diverse, strong and sustainable. We even came through a global pandemic stronger than ever (and stronger than most). This is what economic development is all about. Attracting a new business is like the tip of the economic development iceberg. It’s what everyone sees but the vast majority of the work is unseen. True, a part of this work remains getting new companies to come to Ponca City and then helping them integrate into the local economy. It is also, however, about helping existing companies diversify into new industries. It's about finding workforce, helping private businesses transition into new opportunities, adapt to new tech, share resources, update facilities, become more efficient in a global economy that punishes inefficiencies and a lot more. It’s about a community taking its economic future into its own hands and taking control, not allowing random chance alone to determine the future.
We tell you all of this because economic development is on the ballot this coming Tuesday. A yes vote will continue funding for economic development while a no vote will discontinue the funding. You are undoubtedly savvy enough to understand that everything costs money so if something isn’t paid for, then it doesn’t happen. Ergo, next Tuesday’s vote is about whether or not there will be economic development in Ponca City.
PCDA cannot legally take a position or campaign for the election. We can, however, let you know the election is happening and ask you to vote regardless of your choice. The polls are open this Tuesday, January 10th from 7 am to 7 pm. Early voting is going on right now. We are also allowed to give you information about the impact of economic development. You’ll see some of that below, and you can find more on the PCDA website. You can also read the PCDA strategic plan to see what the plans are for the next several years if voters decide to continue economic development. To be sure, there is a lot to do and the economic development resource can be deployed in many different ways. Like Rome, Ponca City was not (re)built in a day. Perhaps more significantly, we have had only a small peak at tomorrow's challenges and opportunities.
CITY CENTRAL..... is just that: central to the city. An almost shuttered five story building in downtown Ponca City was brought back to life under the leadership of the City of Ponca City and the ownership/management of PCDA. When PCDA was directed to own and manage City Central in late 2016, the occupancy of this wonderful then 40 year old building was only 18 percent. Fast forward to 2022: PCDA utilized a $1.25 million federal matching grant, forward thinking renovations, amazing partnerships and fantastic city grant writers with City Central closing out 2022 with an 84 percent occupancy.
Meetings are held in the building's four meeting rooms of varying sizes; Business on the Balcony happens April through October; PC Arts has the John McNeese Gallery and the Pickens Museum has an art installation, both on the Lobby Level. The Link co-work space offers visitors and entrepreneurs plug & play office space as well as having the Kaw Nation and Ponca Tribe offices call City Central home. It has been amazing to bring the building back to life. PCDA could not accomplish this project without the support of the Ponca City community. Well done!
BUSINESS PLAN PITCH-OFF.....continues to grow start ups here in Ponca City. This PCDA sponsored pitch competition began in 2016 with participants Vortex Alley Brewing and Gatehands, manufacturers and businesses that are both still operating in the community. This award winning program assists high scoring pitches with over $5000 worth of cash, equipment, office space and advertising assistant. Past participants include Aesthetic State of Mind, GameMaster's Guild and Grand Cigar & Lounge. Batter Up! The next business plan pitch-off is April 3rd with business plans due on March 22nd. Call or email Kat for more information. What's Your Pitch? Check out this video to see Sizzle Sauce Media owner Andy Hicks, the Fall 2022 Pitch-off champ.
THE NEXT WORKFORCE.... has to be grown and Ponca Works, an award winning program of PCDA is doing just that. Over 50 student interns have been placed at industries, retail and service companies in Ponca City this Fall. PCDA staff continue to attend college career fairs with companies seeking recent graduates (hey OSU Grads) and work closely with Pioneer Technology Center to continue to be a Center for Workforce Excellence. Want to know more about Ponca Works programs or find an intern for your business? Email PCDA or call PoHi and ask for Jordan Jackson-Gross 580-718-4878/ email firstname.lastname@example.org. We want you to have an intern!
Tuesday, January 10// Economic Development Sales Tax Extension
Please vote at your polling place. Polls open from 7 am to 7 pm.
Thurs, January 12// PCDA Board of Trustee Meeting //