By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – The Durant Area Chamber of Commerce held its July meeting at the Donald W. Reynolds Library on Monday evening.
A number of speakers were of the docket to speak to the gathering and the central focus tying the messages together as one was “growth.”
Durant is continuing to experience growth and with it comes both challenges and opportunities.
Among those to address the Chamber were Tim Rundel, Durant city manager; Sean Burrage, Southeastern president; Shaun Banner, Cardinal FG plant manager; Matt Davison, Durant Young Professionals; and Kara Byrd, Imagine Durant executive director.
“I think the common theme tonight was growth and where we’re going to go as a city,” Rundel said afterward. “As I mentioned earlier, we have a lot of good growth here, as far as industry goes, bringing in CMC, we have Cardinal Glass, we have Steel Fab. We’ve got some really good things coming in.
“And what we’re experiencing, like what President Burrage said, is a problem that most cities would love to have and that is growth. Finding good quality housing for the people to come here and stay here is vital.”
Byrd, with Imagine Durant, which is a community-based initiative for creating a unified vision for the community, spoke during her presentation time about vision and retention of the growth.
“It is imperative that while we are having this growth, we need to have a plan in place for that growth, especially to retain our young people,” Byrd said. “One that produces people that want to stay here for the jobs that we have available and that are coming in.
“For the last three years, Imagine Durant has been having community dialogues to go through strategic planning and let the community members themselves have a part in creating the plan.”
From those dialogues and more, Byrd shared a vision of what Durant could look like in 20 years.
“Durant is a thriving community where citizens are out and about enjoying their space. They have trust and peace with city governance and as a result feel safe and secure. Preserving the ‘old Durant’ while advancing to a ‘new Durant’ makes it a community so rich in character and opportunities that no citizen can imagine a better place to live.
“Durant has some of the best dining and night life around. It is well-maintained, with great streets, is lush in greenery and citizens are environmentally aware. Families and healthy and happy and utilize the community to walk, run, bike and enjoy their time together. Citizens are diverse, well-educated, motivated and above everything, they care.”
The meeting closed with no new business discussed.