An agenda item before the Oklahoma City council Tuesday titled “BS,” which Councilman Ed Shadid said was “appropriately labeled,” included a $3.5 million tax incentive package for the nationwide chain Cabela’s.
The council approved the incentives in an effort to attract the store to a development on the city’s north side. Shadid was the only vote against the incentive.
“Now you have opened the floodgates for any big box retailer,” Shadid said. “It’s more than $3.5 million; you are setting precedent with this.”
Shadid had previously been outspoken against the city’s use of tax incentives for retail stores and corporations moving to OKC.
Mayor Mick Cornett, who voted in favor of the tax incentive package, told Shadid the city had no choice in the matter.
“We are playing the hand we’ve been dealt,” said Cornett, referring to the city’s need to fight for sales tax dollars from other municipalities in the region.
Following the vote, Shadid urged the public to avoid shopping at the new store.
“I don’t think Cabela’s is a friend to Oklahoma City,” Shadid said.
More bike lanes
The council also approved an additional $362,000 for 62 miles of new bike lanes across the city.
Half of the money will come from a 2007 voter-approved bond, while the other half is from an Oklahoma Department of Transportation grant.
In 2012, the first phase of a citywide bike plan included 70 miles of routes. The 62 route miles included in the approved contract on Tuesday is the second phase of the project.
Restaurant gets approval
A proposed restaurant on 23rd Street received unanimous approval from the council, even after the planning commission had previously voted to deny the permit.
Guyutes, which will be located at the corner of 23rd and Shartel, will include a rooftop patio, wide beer selection and health food options. The restaurant also plans to have late-night hours.
“I think the rebirth of 23rd Street is really encouraging and [we need to do] anything we can to help,” Ward 8 Councilman Pat Ryan said.
Some residents near the proposed restaurant expressed concern over parking and noise issues. However, the council said it believed the issues would be addressed.
“I do believe there is a need for late night dining,” Ward 6 Councilor Meg Salyer said.
Guyutes’ owners said the approval form the council was a progressive move.
“I think it shows the city is making a step in the right direction,” said Jarrod Friedel, who co-owns Guyutes along with Wayne Allen. “If we can have more businesses like this come in we can actually make this a thriving city.”