Muskogee Downtown Plan Steering Committee Meeting

October 5, 2016, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Neighbors Building Neighborhoods Non-Profit Resource Center
207 North 2nd Street, Muskogee, OK 74401

Members Present
Hon. Wayne Johnson – City Councilor and Downtown Muskogee Incorporated (DMI)
DJ Thompson – Muskogee Chamber of Commerce
Ann Ong – Action in Muskogee (AIM)
Frank Cooper – Arrowhead Mall
Wren Stratton, Chair – Depot District
Johni Wardwell¬ – Muskogee Community Foundation
Darla Bennett – City of Muskogee Economic Development
Gary D. Garvin – City of Muskogee Director of Planning
Ron Drake – Ron Drake Consulting

Members Absent
Mike Miller – Assistant City Manager
Bob Coburn – Mayor
Hon. Marlon Coleman – City Councilor
Eric Miller – Port of Muskogee
Johnny Teehee – Muskogee Police Department
Sue Vandeford – Katy District

Project Team Present
Shawn Schaefer
Chan Hellman
Shane Hampton
Ron Frantz
Hope Mander

1. Icebreaker: Branding Question

Each member of the group was asked to describe Downtown Muskogee on a small Post-It note and share their thoughts with the group. Please see responses below. (In no particular order)

  • Unified (consensus)
  • Direction
  • Better communication between all stakeholders
  • Existing organizations work better together to meet goals
  • A fully engaged business and social community
  • People, music, restaurants, pop up shops etc. on the streets
  • Unity thru clear communications and understanding of needs in our community
  • Clear vision of the future for downtown Muskogee
  • Vibrant downtown
  • A lot of residential
  • Walkable downtown
  • Parking maximized
  • Educated community on what a successful town looks/acts like
  • Resurgence of community pride
  • Plan w/ measurables & timeline and who does what
  • Increased population
  • Increased sales tax
  • Parking infrastructure
  • Loft apartments
  • Business/Retail downtown
  • Walkable downtown
  • Appearance / Curb appeal


2. Welcome and Introductions

Stakeholder and project team introductions.

3. Presentation: The Language of Hope by Chan Hellman

The planning process will include language and structure related to the concept of hope. Chan Hellman provided an overview of the concept of hope. The presentation is available in full here. Hope requires goals, which are a vision for a future state. Hope requires identifying pathways to reach these goals. Finally, hope requires agency, or the will to take pathways to goals.

4. Discussion: Identifying Hopes and Setting Expectations for the Project

The committee discussed their hopes for the future of Downtown Muskogee and their expectations for the project. In general, the steering committee expressed a vision of a vibrant downtown with people and life in public spaces. There was a discussion about making sure to recognize and celebrate successes and milestones to reward progress in downtown and throughout Muskogee. The committee discussed the needs for unified vision and cooperative action among all stakeholders. Finally, the committee desires a clear pathway of incremental steps to implement the plan.

The following list was generated that had consensus from the group:

  • People + life in the street
  • Increased population and sales tax through walkable, attractive downtown
  • Process =⇒ Unified direction
  • Measurable, implementable goals
  • Cooperation among stakeholders
  • Livable, walkable
  • Understand needs
  • Place to start
  • Vibrant, diverse
  • Attracts people
  • Clarify Resources and Pathways in process
  • Keep young people (Jobs & Life)
  • Life is worth living in downtown Muskogee
  • Vibrant, forward thinking
  • More choices
  • More civic pride
  • Inclusive
  • Restaurants & Residential
  • Parking education
  • What is a successful town?
  • OU students learn
  • Vibrant + safe
  • See how far Muskogee has already come


5. Review of Process and Schedule by Shawn Schaefer

Shawn Schaefer provided an overview of the plan process, which will continue through May of 2017. The process will include a period of data collection and analysis, a period of community engagement, a student competition to create concepts for Arrowhead Mall, and a period of urban design strategy development. The full schedule will be available on the project website:

6. Discussion: Community Engagement Strategy

The committee discussed ways to reach out and involve the community, including future activities, channels of communication, and meeting locations. The group agreed that the engagement strategy should have the following characteristics:

  • Consensus building
  • Inclusive
  • Invitation of a few more community leaders for the committee.
  • Locations for community engagement sessions include: the Arrowhead Mall, Martin Luther King Jr. Center.
  • Document and celebrate successes
7. Committee Procedures, Set Future Meeting Dates/Times

Wren Stratton was elected as the chairperson for the Steering Committee. The committee will meet on the first Wednesday of each month starting on November 2, 2016 at 3:30 pm.

8. New Business

No new business.

9. Meeting adjourned 5:30 pm