Downtown Durant gets suggestions from tourism expert, Roger Brooks

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 6:27 PM CST
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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) - The city of Durant is making strides to transform the downtown area into a destination that welcomes tourists and residents year round.

The city of Durant brought in the help of Roger Brooks, an award winning expert for marketing and development for downtown branding and tourism. Brooks has helped around 2,000 communities across the country to rebrand and make their downtown space a destination. Downtown Durant is next on his list.

“This is a community improvement, this isn’t just for one of us or for a certain part of us,” said Curtis Armor, President of the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce.

Durant Area Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Durant Main Street, Imagine Durant, and the Durant Blue Zones Project to bring Brooks in for the week.

“We’ve been here for a week , just checking out Durant, what would make me want to live here, move here, start a business here or vacation here? And so that’s what we did and we presented our findings,” said Brooks.

Brooks says he noticed the need for better parking and wayfinding or directional signs for downtown attractions.

“There’s just a lot of energy there that really kind of surprised us for a small town. It has really great potential,” said Brooks.

“The project is something that’s been in works for a long time its just really trying to focus our efforts on things that can make the most difference the quickest , will add sales tax to the city and also make the city a more enjoyable place for our residents to live,” said Armor.

Brooks says his main goal is to make downtown a place for residents and tourists to want to hang out while promoting healthy living opportunities with the Blue Zones Project.

“We want Durant to be prideful about staying in Durant, having things to do and just enjoying the people here, loving on each other and just creating a better culture for Durant,” said Brandon Martin, Community Program Manager for Blue Zones Durant.

“For these towns, you need to have a soul, you need to have a nucleus. This could be a great model for other communities in the region to look at and say we wanna be like them,” said Brooks.

On Thursday Brooks will present a set plan for Durant to take, what he believes the city should make priority in redeveloping. That presentation will be publicized on a zoom call, and the community is encouraged to sit in and give input as plans are made. You can RSVP for Thursday’s event from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. here. More information can be found on the Durant Main Street Facebook page.

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