OC prepared to invest $500,000 to improve downtown

Posted on September 24, 2021

Odessa College President Gregory Williams indicated this week that the school is ready to invest $500,000 on new downtown projects, including construction of a school building that would house entrepreneurial classes and a business incubator.

The total estimated cost of the project is $2 million. The $500,000 will come from the funding it received from Mackenzie Scott. Williams and other OC officials discussed details of their proposed two-phase project during the City of Odessa’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board meeting on Thursday.

“Everyone is really excited about the project,” TIRZ Chairman Craig Stoker said. “Odessa College is really looking to carry the torch to bringing its presence back to downtown.”

Williams is scheduled to conduct another presentation of the college’s proposed plans during city council’s Tuesday work session. The 3 p.m. meeting is open to the public.

Williams told the TIRZ Board that phase one of the project would include creating more greenspace and landscaping downtown and construction a stage area for community concerts and events. The plan also calls for installation of new splashpads, seating areas and scheduling of additional programs and activities designed to attract a younger crowd downtown.

Phase two would include construction of the new school building and business incubator.

Williams could not be reached for additional comment.

City Manager Michael Marrero previously has said that he and Williams have been discussing ways the college could increase its downtown presence.

The TIRZ Board on Thursday approved the purchase of 12 additional new large flower pots that will be placed downtown at a total cost of $22,000. There are currently 14 similar flower pots already located at various downtown sites.

Stoker said the TIRZ Board is excited about moving forward on several of its own efforts to improve the appearance of downtown. But the board is postponing most projects until the updated downtown master plan is completed later this year.

OC prepared to invest $500,000 to improve downtown