The Main Street group in Sliloam Springs with Ron Drake in May 2014. (L-R) John McConnel Orpheum Theatre, Justin Pollard Ikes, Dwight Beard Ikes, Chris Azbel Chamber and City Council, Rusty Milroy Citizens Bank, Ron Drake, Margaret Hess Walters Real Estate, Heather Sumner Main Street Manager, Valerie Rice Okmulgee News Network and Paul Orosco Okmulgee News Network.
The Okmulgee Main Street Program has been rejuvenated and breaking new ground under the enthusiasm and leadership of their new Main Street Program Manager Heather Sumner.
The Main Street group has recruited some new blood and retained the hardiest of those who have worked in the program for years, some with the expertise from its humble beginnings. Sumner has orchestrated new committee heads and recently participated in a Main Street week of various activities to train and birth new ideas within the members for the relevant times we are living in.
One of the most recent ventures is recruiting the assistance consultant Ron Drake who has been instrumental in the revitalization of Siloam Springs Arkansas.
Some of the Main Street members visited Siloam Springs on a group trip to visit with and see what Drake has done in his city.
Ron Drake is the author of the book "Flip this Town".
In his words - "The book is about turning your town upside down, one person and one property at a time. I wrote the book because I believe you can do in your town what we've done in our town. Together in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, we have flipped a town from a place where downtown property values, morale, and community spirit were low to a place where property values are on the rise, morale is high, and the community spirit is better than ever."
Ron is a visionary who believes small towns in America like Siloam Springs can be turned upside down, with property values, morale, and community spirit flipping from low to high. He helps small-town residents apply what he’s learned – sometimes the hard way – to their own towns. When people decide to do what it takes to change a city, old things become new, the dilapidated gets repaired, and community spirit returns to tired and ho-hum places. Although, Ron has a passion for downtown revitalization, he is also an expert on all things construction and renovation.
Ron has bought and sold over 40 homes in the Siloam Springs area, specializing in historic neighborhoods. He has purchased over 17 historic buildings, restoring over 75,000 square feet of downtown space. He helped to transform an unlively downtown into a vibrant cultural center, and was influential in Siloam Springs' recent listing in the "Top 14 Best Small Towns in America" by the Smithsonian Institute. Ron has built over 30 custom homes and numerous commercial projects. He is a State Licensed Residential and Commercial contractor and has served Siloam Springs as President of Main Street, Chairman of the downtown Parking and Oversight Committee, and currently serving as Vice Chairman of Planning and Zoning.
Ron has been a risk taker his whole life, which spread into his love for historic buildings, historic properties and took the risks when others thought it was impossible. He has proven concepts and his ability to make preservation practical and can use these proven concepts in your town.
Ron Drake is coming to Okmulgee June 9, 10 and 11th as a personal downtown consultant. He will arrive on Monday at 5:30 p.m. for a reception social and 6 p.m. dinner and presentation at the Historic Creek Council House. He will be the guest speaker at the Lions Club noon meeting on Tuesday. He will be visiting with Main Street and business owners on Tuesday and Wednesday. He will be meeting with (established & potential) business owners, downtown property owners, City leaders, Historic Preservation Commission and others.
His expertise is in some of the following: Specialized Downtown Living planning and Loft Living, Main Street Program Audit, Innovative Problem Solving Strategies for Renovation, Practical Preservation, Community Development Programs, Comprehensive planning for small businesses, Park and Recreation planning, Real Estate Consulting and Project Mediator Specialist.
The public is welcome to join in any of the presentation and become involved. The winds of change are coming to improve Okmulgee. Local's, now is the perfect time to get involved in the hometown where you live and help bring in a bright future.
Here are some photos of the Siloam Springs visit: