City Hall to move to Main Street Stride building

by Charles Gerian

Big changes are coming to Main Street within the next year.

At Thursday night’s loaded meeting of the Blackwell City Council, a Letter of Intent was read by Stride Bank’s Vice President Emily Shields and accepted by the council confirming that Stride Bank would be relocating to Doolin Avenue and that Blackwell City Hall would be moving to the Stride building located on the corner of Main and Blackwell Avenue.

“Stride Bank has always prioritized the needs of our customers,” said Shields to the council, “we believe in growing together, supporting each other in times of need, and celebrating together in times of success.”

She continued:

“Our commitment to Blackwell has not wavered since the day that we arrived, and we have been pleased to contribute to the economic and social growth of our town. Our journey together has been one of partnership and progress, and as we look to the future Stride Bank remains as committed as ever to the community. We are here not just as one of the banks, but as neighbors, supporters, and friends.”

Shields concluded, echoing Stride’s sentiments about helping to secure Blackwell’s progressive future and nurturing growth within the community.

“We’ve been working on this for quite a while,” City Manager Jerry Wieland told the council.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to take possession of what, I think, is one of the most beautiful buildings in town. Moving City Hall would, I believe, be a shot in the arm for the downtown area. It would increase traffic, driving more people downtown, which would benefit our Main Street businesses,” said Wieland.

“What a great gift,” said City Attorney Bryce Kennedy.

“Everyone here knows that the Stride building is just superb, especially compared to any other City Hall. Look at Enid's, for instance. This would be nice. It has a lot of space, and it would do wonders when we entertain economic development prospects.”

As the building is a donation to the City of Blackwell, Wieland noted that any possible incurred costs would be minimal as Stride is expected to leave much of the furniture and other items at the building.

The move was described as seamless, with city personnel, utility clerks, and more able to move effortlessly into the office spaces available.

Wieland noted to the council that it would amount to the city plugging in their computers and picking up where they left off as the infrastructure is already in place.

The City of Blackwell is also acquiring the bank’s drive-through windows on Blackwell Avenue and B Street, which Wieland said he had discussed with City Clerk Traci Hanebrink and the plan, tentatively, is to offer Blackwell residents a way to pay their bills through the drive-through as well as in-person.

With City Hall’s relocation to the Stride building, the Blackwell Police Department would move into the City Hall building on Blackwell Avenue and 1st Street, allowing the Fire Department to have the rest of the current Public Safety Building.

Wieland stated that the jail and dispatch would remain, and that city council meetings would still be held in the current City Hall for the time being until the City of Blackwell can work on possibly turning Stride’s banquet hall on the second story into a meeting area.

Stride Bank will be relocating to a new building which is planned to be built next to the new Farm Bureau office on Doolin.

Stride’s building on Main is a cavernous facility with several offices, teller windows, closets, and meeting rooms. The Blackwell City Hall Administration, Code Enforcement, and Utility Department will be relocating to the Stride building with room for more entities as well.