ON THE ROAD TO GROWTH: City of Moore Looks for Another Positive YearJan 01, 2023
The past decade or so has seen the City of Moore navigate a long and winding road with remarkable success. City leaders and residents have handled every crisis thrown at them with calm heads and positive attitudes. And as the time has slipped by, Moore has made the transition into something a bit more than just another bedroom community. City Manager Brooks Mitchell says he hopes the trend continues as Moore continues to grow.
“Our population is at 63,000 right now,” said Mitchell. “We have residential developments that are either underway or in the planning right now for the southeast part of the city, so we expect to have continued growth over the next few years.”
As the population has grown, Moore has seen the addition of key business elements that are helping tweak the nature of the community. It used to be most of the working population in Moore left to go to their jobs elsewhere, then returned in the evenings. The addition of office space like the Simple Modern and Western Telephone buildings have led to a larger “daytime population” in the city. And with the expected 2023 opening of First United Bank’s beautiful new building near the Warren Theater, more and more people are expected to go to work right here at home, in Moore.
Deidre Ebrey, Moore’s Director of Public Affairs, believes trends like that can help the city maintain a pattern of growth, even as our communities wrestle with an economic downturn and the lingering effects of a pandemic.
“I think the best way to describe how we’re approaching things right now is cautious, calculated, and continuous,” said Ebrey. “We’re working hard to support our small, local businesses while also bringing in new businesses that raise the standard of living for everyone here.”
Ebrey, who also oversees economic development, says the addition of businesses like Costco combined with an excellent school system make the city a highly valued choice for folks looking to relocate.
“We have a fantastic school system and great amenities,” said Ebrey. “Whether people enjoy locally-owned shopping or restaurants, or prefer regional or national brand names, they’ll find it here in Moore and we consider all those things to be amenities.”
There are more changes come to Moore in 2023 that will likely help make the city even more attractive to current residents. One of the most anticipated projects is the 4th Street railroad underpass, which is currently winding its way toward the end of all the preliminaries.
“I think the 4th Street underpass will likely impact us more than any other project that’s on the books right now,” said Mitchell. “If things go as planned with ODOT and Burlington Northern, construction should begin in 2023 and from there it would be about two-years to completion.”
That long-desired underpass would make a massive difference for those traveling on 4th Street, which is also State Highway 37. Assistant city manager Jerry Ihler says 60% plans for the project are currently being reviewed and it shouldn’t be long before the 90% plans are up for review. He’s hoping the project will be open for bids by August.
Ihler also pointed out that the completion of the city’s new southeast lift station will have a major impact on residential construction in the southeastern portion of Moore.
“The next step in that project is the construction of a 36-inch gravity flow sanitary sewer line that will run from the existing lift station on Southeast 34th Street down to the new lift station,” said Ihler. “That project should start in early 2023 and once it’s complete it will provide the infrastructure to allow future developments in the southeastern portion of Moore.”
Ihler says work is always being done to help city streets and infrastructure keep up with the growth.
“We’ve finished some major drainage projects and are hard at work on Eastern Avenue now,” said Ihler. “From Southeast 4th Street to Southeast 19th Street, we’re replacing the existing road and adding a pedestrian bicycle trail on the east side of the road.
As those future developments bring new residents to the city, Ebrey says current business projects will continue to help elevate Moore’s already impressive profile.
“There are so many wonderful things coming our way,” said Ebrey. “First United Bank’s new building is an absolute statement of a facility and I’m sure they’re as proud of it as we are. Then we’ve got QuikTrip and eExpress who will be starting work on their locations at 27th and I-35. The Hal Smith Restaurant Group has rebranded the old Hollie’s site to Toby Keith’s with great service and food and we’re so proud to have our hometown hero with a restaurant here.”
The list of new businesses continues over on Eastern Avenue with the construction of a Dollar General Store and a Scooter’s Coffee near Moore High School. Casey’s purchased a large number of convenience stores across the area and is still in process of remodeling and rebranding those locations. When you add the new with the recent addition of Costco, the impact on Moore is extremely positive.
“Costco has done very well and has brought more traffic to Moore from out of town,” said Brooks. “And when they’re at Costco many of them shop at our other stores and dine at our restaurants, so we definitely reap the benefits from that as well.”
“Obviously the Costco addition has been enormous,” said Ebrey. “I honestly wasn’t sure it would happen, but it’s a great example of how retailers find their way into our state and, as it turns out happily for us, into our community. And the draw to shoppers from outside Moore is exactly what we’re looking for because it helps us take care of our community with tourism dollars.”
It’s not just new businesses coming in that make 2023 look so positive. Moore voters continue to overwhelmingly support the city through bond elections that allow upgrades to services used by all residents. In addition to the city’s top-shelf parks system, 2023 will see the completion of Moore’s new animal shelter at 34th Street and I-35. The expansion of The Station at Central Park recreation center is also on tap for the year ahead and plans are also being developed for a new library, to be located in Central Park north of the The Station Recreation Center. The new facility will be an upgrade from the well-used, but aging site on Chestnutt Street next to the old recreation center.
“For the library, we have a committee and we’re in the process of taking proposals from architectural firms,” said Mitchell. “We will evaluate those and expect the city council to award a contract with a firm sometime early next spring.”
All of these things seem to point to another positive year for the City of Moore as it enters 2023.
“It’s been interesting to see our identity change over the past few years,” said Ebrey. “To be able to offer the opportunities we have through retail and to be able to create jobs within your own community is always a great deal. All of these things work together to make our city a great place to live and work.”