The Claremore Main Street Board Acknowledges Concerns Over Downtown Parklets

Claremore, Oklahoma – February 1, 2024 – The Claremore Main Street Board is addressing the concerns voiced by the community regarding the parklets situated in Downtown Claremore. As stewards of the downtown area, we understand the importance of maintaining a vibrant and welcoming environment for residents, visitors, and businesses alike.

Over the past few weeks, there has been an influx of feedback from various stakeholders regarding the placement and impact of the parklets. The concerns raised encompass a range of issues, including accessibility, traffic flow, and overall aesthetic appeal. The board wants to assure the public that these concerns have not gone unnoticed, and we are committed to finding a resolution that balances the interests of all parties involved.

At present, the Claremore Main Street Board is engaged in ongoing discussions at the board level to explore potential solutions to address the concerns raised. We recognize that any changes made should take into account the diverse needs of our community and ensure that Downtown Claremore, and the Lilac District, remain accessible and inviting to all.

CMS Names New Executive Director

The Claremore Main Street Board of Directors would like to announce the addition of a new Executive Director.

Allison Dietzfeld is a life long resident of Claremore. She has a true passion for her community and is inspired by what the future of Claremore can and will be. Her background provides experience in event management, tourism, marketing and community relations.

Allison prides herself on being involved and making a difference. She currently sits on the leadership team for the Claremore Collective, acts as the Co-Fair Manager for the Rogers County Fair and has been a part of countless event committees over the years. She was awarded the 2021 Leading Lady of the Year Award for Community Supporter.

Along with her husband Jon, Allison is raising her daughter to see and appreciate everything Claremore has to offer. It’s not uncommon to see them as a family volunteering and supporting community activities.

We are looking forward to the leadership Allison will bring to the Main Street organization. Please help us give her a warm welcome!

Parklets Installed Downtown

News Editor Claremore Daily Progress
Oct 12, 2021

Two parklets have been installed in downtown Claremore in front of Taps on the Tracks and Crooked Roots.

“These parklets allow the public to interact with the public space in a different way than just a regular parking space,” Claremore City Planner Kyle Clifton said. “I think it will benefit the downtown merchants as a whole because it keeps people downtown. It gives people a place to sit, it gives people a place to gather.”

Claremore Main Street board unanimously approved the construction of the parklets during the September board meeting.

Andrew Jones, Co-Owner of Taps on the Tracks, grew up in Claremore and always found there was a faction that looks favorable on progress and a faction that doesn’t want anything to change.

“I feel like this is something that is easily reversible if it doesn’t work or isn’t popular,” he said. “I, for one, am glad to see Claremore trying new things.”

Jones said Main Street approached him to see if they’d be willing to give up two parking spots for the parklets.

“After looking at the designs, I said yes,” he said. “I think it’ll be awesome.”

After living in Seattle, Boulder and Los Angeles, Jones said these are common in those markets and will create a more pedestrian vibe in Claremore that will add to the quaintness of the town.

That sentiment was echoed by co-owner of Crooked Roots, Bailey Robinson.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “It will bring so much more to downtown.”

Robinson said she volunteered her two parking spots up for the parklet.

“It’ll give the vibe that downtown is a place to come, stay and hang out,” she said.

CMS Executive Director Jacob Garrison said having the parkets outside Taps on the Tracks and Crooked Roots will provide two different sets of data since they are two different types of business: retail and food and beverage.

“For us, we didn’t want to put them in the front of two similar businesses,” he said. “We wanted to be able to have that data and feedback on two different areas.”

The discussion of creating parklets began in January.

“We’re very excited,” Garrison said. “For us, it’s been a long time coming.”

Clifton said the parklet is a temporary solution to the comprehensive plan, which has a vision to create an expanded, urban designed, complex zone, like sidewalk cafes.

“The problem is, with our current configuration we don’t have enough width on the actual sidewalk itself,” he said.

Due to the lack of room, the parklet was brought up as an alternative to provide that alternative seating sought after in the comprehensive plan.

From there, tests were conducted during the St. Paddy’s Day Party event and the Taste of Claremore event, and a think tank was hosted by the Claremore Collective.

Garrison said they are trying to find what will work for Claremore.

Originally, the parklets were designed to take three parking spots in front of Back in the Day Antiques and three in front of the Homeward Bound building. After receiving feedback, the project evolved to take two parking spots in front on Crooked Roots and two spots in front of Taps on the Tracks, Clifton said.

“We tried to take into account all the feedback we received form the merchants,” he said. “They were concerned about the number of parking spaces, they were concerned about the location itself… So we tried to take all that into account.”

Clifton and Garrison conducted a week-long parking study in September. Data was collected every two hours from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

“We had 15 different data points that we could collect and see what the usage was before the parklets and utilize the data,” Garrison said.

This was the second parking study conducted – the first one was done in October of 2018 – and the results were the same, Clifton said.

“The findings, in summary – contrary to popular belief – just like what we found in the first parking study, we don’t have a parking problem in downtown,” he said.

Garrison said the average parking utilization was at 49 percent.

Garrison said the goal of the study was to see what areas were being used, what areas were underutilized and what areas were under-marked as public parking.

With the data, Garrison said they will be able to educate the public on where public parking is located down town.

On top of parking concerns, some merchants were also concerned about a lack of communication with the project and the maintenance of the parklets.

Doe’s Eat Place Owner Betty Watowich said Main Street and the city are looking for ways to revitalize downtown and this is another idea.

Watowich said she has elderly patrons who struggle to walk and don’t come in because they already can’t find a parking spot.

“I don’t know how bad it’ll effect us,” she said. “I think it’s more of how other people will view it. I don’t care in the least if we do it. If it helps – hurray.”

Watowich said she was told in August that the parklets were only going to be in the 300 block.

“To me, it suddenly changed,” she said.

Watowich said they are going to try and embrace it.

“We’ll see what happens,” she said. “I’m for whatever helps. I only wish we had been talked to about it earlier.”

GREEN GROWS THE LILAC DISTRICT: Downtown Claremore designated the Lilac District

BY CHELSEA WEEKS Claremore Daily Progress News Editor (September 11th, 2021)

Lilac roots are deep within Claremore history and are making their way to the center of attention throughout downtown.

Claremore City Councilors approved designating downtown Claremore as the Lilac District.

“When you come to the Lilac District, you’ll know you’re in the Lilac District,” said Jacob Garrison, Claremore Main Street Executive Director. “We want it to create that unique feel when you come to town.”

Every sign throughout downtown Claremore will be replaced with a sign that includes the Lilac District branding.

Garrison said this districting has been in the works for several years and when it came to the name of Lilac it was a great name that had relevance to Claremore’s history.

“It allows us to tell our story,” Garrison said. “When people inevitably ask ‘where did the lilac come from? How did you settle on that name?’ I think the story in itself – for many people who might not know about Lynn Riggs and “Green Grow the Lilacs” – it allows us to tell a story our town is very proud of.”

According to the Claremore Museum of History, Lynn Riggs was a Claremore native who wrote the play “Green Grows the Lilacs.” The play would be adapted into the famous Broadway play “Oklahoma!”

“Hopefully that gives Main Street the opportunity to show his family one step forward of how proud we are,” Garrison said.

As a way to connect the community with Claremore history and with the new districting, Main Street is kicking off the revival of an old tradition: the Lilac Festival.

“Lynn Riggs was an important figure in American history, and Claremore is honored to recognize his contributions as a poet, author and playwright,” Claremore City Manager John Feary said. “As part of continued revitalization of our downtown, we look forward to bringing back long-standing traditions like the Lilac Festival.”

Garrison said the Lilac Festival will take place in the summer of 2022.

“We’ve had great excitement with people in our committees who’ve been working on it with us,” he said.

According to articles published in the Claremore Daily Progress, the Lilac Festival began around 2008 and ended around 2014.

Bob Waters, Claremore Main Street Treasurer, said he used to be the chairman of a group called Care More for Claremore and would sell lilacs at the Lilac Festival.

Care More for Claremore was a voluntary citizens group focused on improving the public image of the city’s residential and commercial buildings, according to the Claremore Daily Progress. Care More for Claremore would sell lilac bushes to promote community beautification.

“I’m really excited to see it get it’s designation like that,”Waters said. “Just to have the designation because of ‘Green Grow the Lilacs.’ I think it’s something we can hang our hats on and feel special about.”

Waters said he feels great about the Lilac District.

Garrison said it’s within the strategic plan to create unique districting aspects in various parts of Claremore.

“The important thing for us and Main Street is this is work that the city of Claremore and the residents have decided they want,” he said. “This was one of the many things our town has decided upon.”

Garrison said getting that final stamp of approval from the councilors “allows us to start the work.”

Garrison said the districting allows entities and businesses to take the lilac and make it their own.

“To me it creates more of a cohesive unit of a district,” he said.

Garrison said they hope to continue to grow the district.

“Where it is now, God-willing, isn’t where it is in 10 years,” he said.

Garrison said this districting will position Claremore greatly on a state level.

“I think our community, people visiting and people through the state, will really see this will be a big launch to grasp our identity,” he said.

Spectrum Paint takes home the belt


Photo by RSU Honors Student, Emma Spear
Story by Claremore Progress News Editor, Chelsea Weeks

Downtown Claremore transformed from the average Main Street into an Olympic battleground as 16 local corporations fought for the title of Corporate Olympic Champion.

After a day of playing basketball, throwing axes and tossing bean bags, Spectrum Paint Co. walked away with the gold belt and title at the Claremore Main Street 2nd Corporate Olympic Games.

“It’s always exciting – doesn’t matter what event it is – to see so many people downtown,” CMS Executive Director Jacob Garrison said.

Spectrum Paint Co. secured first place with 13 points. Banc First followed with 10 points and last year’s champion, Pelco, fell to third place with 6 points.

Teams completed in 3-on-3 basketball, Angry Axe throwing, corn hole, football target throwing and Hillcat Hacker golf.

Garrison said the original event was scheduled for May, but was postponed because of the weather.

“We had to make a few adjustments on the fly,” he said.

Garrison said overall the turnout – and weather – was great.

“It’s really exciting and promising that we’re seeing a great turnout downtown,” he said.

Garrison said when they began planning for this event in January, they weren’t sure what to expect due to the pandemic. Garrison said he’d like to see the event become a staple event in the community and grow to a two-night event.

“We’ve seen it grow from 10 teams to 16,” he said. “People are getting more familiar with the event and what the event — and more importantly how much fun the event is. We want to see that continue to grow as the community gets more excited.”

The teams that participated included Spectrum Paint Co., BancFirst, Pelco Structural, RCB Bank, Rogers State University, City of Claremore, Chick-fil-A, Baker Hughes, Cedar Point, Clear Title, Claremore Christian Schools, Destiny Life Church, Rhapsody Boutique Salon & Spa, Solid Rock Realtors and Tulsa Federal Credit Union.

“This is a really great event for those community employees that maybe don’t live here, that head home at 5 o’clock, this gives them an opportunity to stay and, not only see our event, but go into our shops and get acquainted with what we have to offer,” Garrison said.

Not only could attendees watch the Corporate Olympic Games and shop, but they could also eat at one of 10 food trucks, check out items at the numerous vendors and listen to music performed by the band The Aviators.

CMS Banquet Award Winners

CMS hosts appreciation banquet

CMS Banquet Award Winners

Story by Chelsea Weeks, News Editor Claremore Progress
Photo by Emma Spear

Claremore Main Street hosted an appreciation banquet Thursday.

“2020 brought many challenges to this community and it brought many challenges to Claremore Main Street as well,” said Board of Directors President Kyle Clifton. “However, despite the adversity this community was faced with, Main Street continued to push forward with it’s mission to preserve, restore and revitalize downtown Claremore. As well as provide critical support to local businesses and local merchants.”

Executive Director Jacob Garrison said he would not be able to name all the volunteers who showed up and dedicated their time to help downtown.

Claremore Main Street came up with a new award: the Lilac Award. Garrison said this award goes to someone who has been a part of the journey for many years.

Carolyn Peterson was the recipient of the Lilac Award.

“There’s not a folder of photos in the Main Street computer that does not have one of her faces on it,” Garrison said.

The 2021 Board Member of the Year recipient was Bob Waters.

Here are the names of the 2020 awards and recipients:

• Community Partner of the Year — Claremore Signs.

• Community Volunteer of the Year — Bob Hawkins.

• Volunteer of the Year — Jimye Sharp.

• Downtown Business of the Year — LoliPop a sweet boutique.

• Downtown Merchant of the Year — Kathy Glover.

Because COVID prevented Claremore Main Street members from having a banquet in 2020, they announced the 2019-20 Board Member of the Year, Nancy Fitts, at Thursday’s banquet.

Garrison said it was humbling to look back at everything done in the past two years and everyone involved.

During Garrison’s first year — 2019— he started by looking for ways to enhance the visual aspect of downtown Claremore.

The first thing he did as executive director was change the benches and trash cans. He then added downtown banners on the light poles.

Several businesses began investing in downtown in 2020, including Taps on the Tracks, Smoke and Tonic and Wildflour Baking Co.

“I can’t think of anything I appreciate more, outside our volunteers, than people who come in and invest in our downtown,” he said. “Because if we were to just continue doing what we’re doing, and we didn’t have those people putting their dollars in, we’d just be spinning in the mud.”

They began working on the Muskogee Corner — a project Garrison said was the longest project so far during his career as the director. He said the project has received compliments statewide.

The mural on the Spectrum Paint building was completed, the downtown map was donated, Claremore Main Street was rebranded with a new logo, the windows on Ann’s Cleaners were remodeled and events such as Food Truck Thursdays started.

“It’s been a fast ride of momentum that we want to keep going,” he said.

That momentum has continued within the first half of 2021.

Claremore Main Street moved into its new offices and has organized at least one event every month.

Claremore Main Street is working on creating a Parklet Program.

“We wanted that to increase some of the sitting areas in our downtown,” he said.

Garrison said a parklet encompasses a parking space and creates a seating area. The goal with the program is to get more people engaged downtown.

“Our success can not be measured from one perspective, or part of the main street process,” Clifton said. “It takes the sum of all the parts working together to achieve the vision.”

Taste of Claremore is Tonight!

What to know about tonight’s Taste of Claremore Event:

  • Tonight’s event is hosted by Claremore Main Street, and sponsored by our downtown partner Spectrum Paint Company.
  • Event starts at 6:00pm
  • Tickets to participate in the TASTE OF CLAREMORE portion of the event go on sale at 5:00pm at the Claremore Main Street offices (VERY limited number of tickets remain!)
  • Food samples are first come, first serve. When all samples are gone, they are GONE! So get an early jump on visiting our stores and getting your amazing samples.
  • The concert portion is FREE TO ATTEND. Even if you do not get food tickets to sample over 20 local restaurants and wineries, you can still enjoy the fun with downtown shopping and live music.
  • An autographed guitar by the Swon Brothers will be raffled off tonight, with tickets being sold for $5.00 at the Claremore Main Street offices.
  • Water will be sold at the Claremore Main Street offices for $1.00.
  • Limited number of chairs will be set up downtown, but those attending the concert are encouraged to bring their own lawn chair as well.
  • Food options will be available at all of our downtown restaurants throughout the night, as well as a food truck, which will be located in the RCB ATM parking lot.
Music lineup included:
  • 6:00pm- George Melton and The Bison – Feat. Travis Pec
  • 7:00pm- Jake Tankersley
  • 7:40pm- Makayla Gaylord
  • 8:00pm- The Swon Brothers
We are excited to see everyone downtown tonight!
A collage of renovation photos. Thank you to all our Main Street Partners who helped make our new downtown office happen! Tim Nichols – Capital Roofing, Adult Day Care Center, Bob Hawkins, Charlie Brown Electric, Claremore Signs, CRV Demo & Roll Offs, Gaylord Custom Homes, JG Floors, Lyon Construction, Marble Elegance, Spectrum Paint. And a special Thank You to these Main Street Board Members for all of their help! Claire Hawkins (Spectrum Paint), Zac Oliver (Coldwell Banker Select)

New Office Build Out-Thank You!

They say it “takes a village,” and that statement rings true. It takes a community that is willing to band together to help make things happen, to help people grow, and to plant the seeds for a brighter future. When Claremore Main Street decided to move into our own building, we knew it was going to take the community’s help to make our lofty dreams a reality. Claremore delivered!

We accomplished the entire renovation in about one month’s time thanks to the hard work and dedication of our generous professionals. Countless hours were spent in the evenings and weekends by kind individuals cleaning, moving us in and putting the finishing touches on our office. It is a beautiful space, and we are proud to say our partners and community helped us build it. We are proud to a part of the Historic Downtown Legacy that we care for so deeply.

Thank you to those that donated their time and services. Thank you to our Board Members for going on this journey with us. Thank you to Claremore for your excitement and support as we built this footprint to better serve you. We could not have done it without you!

A collage of renovation photos. Thank you to all our Main Street Partners who helped make our new downtown office happen! Tim Nichols – Capital Roofing, Adult Day Care Center, Bob Hawkins, Charlie Brown Electric, Claremore Signs, CRV Demo & Roll Offs, Gaylord Custom Homes, JG Floors, Lyon Construction, Marble Elegance, Spectrum Paint. And a special Thank You to these Main Street Board Members for all of their help! Claire Hawkins (Spectrum Paint), Zac Oliver (Coldwell Banker Select)

Paint the town 2021 Wildflour Baking Co window

Paint the Town kicks off RSU Homecoming


Story by Claremore Progress News Editor, Chelsea Weeks

Twenty Rogers State University student organizations used cans of paint, brushes and tape to display their school spirit Friday.

Paint the Town — an event where RSU student organizations partner with downtown Claremore businesses to paint windows — kicks off this year’s homecoming week. RSU hosts Pittsburgh State on Jan. 30 at the Claremore Expo Center in its annual homecoming game.

“Paint the Town is a great way to bring the campus and the community together,” RSU Alumni Director Travis Peck said. “We want to see participation grow each year and expand to any and all businesses that would like to participate. Claremore is home to RSU, and we want the town to embrace our students, orgs, and teams as their own.”

Student organizations ranging from RSU Golf to the Student Nurses Association scattered throughout downtown to paint windows and show their school spirit.

These window paintings will be judged by Claremore Mayor Bill Flanagan, wife Lou Flanagan and RSU President Dr. Larry Rice and wife Peggy Rice.

The judges will determine the winners Monday Jan. 25.

First-place winner receives $500, second place receives $300 and third place receives $100. Peck said the money goes directly to the student organizations.

Peck said the RSU Alumni Association partnered with Claremore Main Street and Spectrum Paint.

“We want to say a special thank you to Spectrum Paint for sponsoring this event and their willingness to work with us and make it possible,” he said.

Peck said they want to tie RSU in with the community as often as possible.

Claremore Main Street Executive Director Jacob Garrison said this is the second year to have this event downtown.

“We were blown away in year one with how many student organizations wanted to participate,” he said.

When Garrison started at Claremore Main Street in 2019 he approached RSU with the idea of doing something downtown.

“In my interview process and first month on the job, I had really wanted to work on strengthening that relationship with RSU and getting more students downtown,” he said.

Sixteen student organizations participated last year and 20 participated this year.

“It’s definitely growing,” Garrison said.

Garrison said some businesses who didn’t participate last year made sure to participate this year.

“We definitely have more people this year and more clubs,” he said. “Hopefully that will just keep growing.”

SAAC and District on Main won last year and were awarded the trophy during halftime of the homecoming game.

“We don’t really know how we’re going to do it this year with COVID,” he said.

Garrison said he hopes this event encourages RSU students to get engaged with the businesses downtown.