New arts district in the works for City of Durant

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DURANT, Okla. (KXII) We caught up with Janet Reed, Executive Director of Durant Area Chamber of Commerce, to find out the scoop on the South Ninth Arts District.

"You will be hearing a lot about the S9A in the future,” Reed said.

Reed tells us they expect new businesses to blend in with the historic and culturally diverse qualities already present in the area.

"So it will not only help to uplift and revitalize that area. It will also influence new businesses in that area, as well,” Reed said. “Along with those who have been there for several years."

Businesses like Wright's Drive In, Villegas and Sherrer's.
Danny Sherrer said the family restaurant has been on Ninth Street for nearly 70 years.

"There have been many buildings and houses that have been demolished to make way for new things,” Sherrer said. “The area has been cleaned up quite a bit. I'm excited about that."

Sherrer said the area has experienced seasons of growth and decline over the years, and he's glad to see it back on the upswing.

"I would like to see a venue for performing arts and then I would like to see some galleries,” Sherrer said.

The idea is coming to life thanks to a $75,000 grant; $50,000 from the National Endowment of the Arts and a $25,000 match from several donors like the Choctaw Nation and Commercial Metal Company.

We're told the City will also be kicking in about $6,000.

"We are very fortunate that we do have an aggressive grant writer who is working for the city and we are pursuing those grants as they become available to us,” Reed said.

Most of this grant money will go toward paying architects to design the S9A.

Reed said a tourism tax passed earlier this year will help pay for the construction of the district.

The first meeting with architects will be held on November 3.

We're told the meeting will be one of many, with plenty of opportunities for community input in the future.