Cynthia McCollum joins the Alliance as Office Administrator

C ynthia McCollum has  joined the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City as the organization's Office Administrator. In her new role, Cynthia will manage scheduling and daily administrative tasks throughout the office. 

Cynthia  brings more than 20 years of office professional experience to the Alliance, specializing in communications and organization in Dallas, Nashville and Oklahoma City. Previously, she worked for C aterpillar Financial Services and Frito Lay Inc., and  says she "loves people, customer service and is about creating great first impressions."  Cynthia  is Green Belt certified in Six Sigma and has extensive experience planning and coordinating events and meetings. 

Cynthia was born in Bethany, Okla. but was raised in Nashville, Tenn. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Relations. Cynthia moved back to Oklahoma in 2004 and got her MBA at the DeVry University Keller Graduate School of Management.  

 and her husband enjoy family dinner time with their very active teenage son and all enjoy going to the movies together. In her free time, Cynthia enjoys riding across the country with her husband on their Honda Goldwing motorcycle and is the secretary and member of the Southern Cruisers Riding Club and Faithriders.  Cynthia  also contributes to the Guiding Eyes for the Blind organization.

Please join us in welcoming Cynthia to our team. She can be reached at

Arts District Garage serves as new hub for many organizations

Next year, the Arts District Garage will see quite a bit more activity thanks to the building's common area and street-level retail and office space. With over 20,000 square feet of commercial space, the ground floor will be home to several non-profit organizations and retail entities.

The building originally came together as a result of the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, with goals to create mixed-use, structured parking with an artistically appealing architecture. Soon, the space will house the Oklahoma Humanities Council, Canterbury Choral Society, Oklahoma Philharmonic Society Inc., Oklahoma City Public Schools Foundation, Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority and an Oklahoma City employee health clinic. The ground floor also includes Clarity Coffee, a newly opened coffee shop.

Beyond its retail space, the garage will also offer a conference center, to be completed in January. The meeting space will be utilized by the building's many non-profit organizations.

Board meetings move to Arts District Garage

Starting in January 2016, board meetings for the  Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority , the Oklahoma City Redevelopment Authority and the Oklahoma City Redevelopment Corporation will begin taking place in the Arts District Parking Garage Conference Room, 431 W. Main, Suite B.

A full list of 2016 meeting dates and locations can be found on the  Alliance's website.

OKC Central Chat features Cathy O'Connor, President of the Alliance

The Oklahoman's OKC Central Chat, hosted by Steve Lackmeyer, featured Alliance President Cathy O'Connor this month. The question and answer session allowed guests to submit questions and comments about downtown Oklahoma City and receive input from both Lackmeyer and O'Connor. Below are highlighted excerpts from the chat.

OKC Central Chat, December 11, 2015:

Gary T.: Cathy, can you give us a little background on The Alliance and what its purpose is?

Cathy O'Connor:  The alliance is an organization that was created to coordinate and manage all of the city's economic development and redevelopment programs. It includes management of the city's tax increment financing districts, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and Redevelopment Authority, the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust and the Strategic Investment Program, which is a local job creation incentive fund.

Love OKC: When TIF funds are diverted from OKC schools etc, does the state budget fully make up what is lost? If so does that mean all the taxpayers in state are in a way subsidizing downtown development?

Cathy O'Connor:  I think the first premise about tax increment financing is that the development would not happen without the assistance provided by TIF. So without the TIF assistance, there is no growth in assessed value and there are no tax dollars available for school districts and the other taxing districts.

One thing that we recognized when we created the downtown district was there could be spin-off development that happens to properties that don't receive any increment. So when the TIF district was created we set it up so the other taxing jurisdictions receive 50 percent of the incremental increases in property taxes on those properties that did not have any assistance from TIF.

The interesting fact about what we call indirect increment dollars is that they are not subject to the state school funding formula and an increment dollar downtown is much more valuable to the school district than a non-increment dollar where they don't get the full value because of the state's school funding formula.

We are proposing that in the new Core to Shore TIF district we implement a similar increment sharing feature but the other taxing districts receive 75 percent of the indirect increment than the 50 percent they are receiving downtown.

Gary T.: What is your vision for The Alliance and what it can do to improve the quality of life in OKC?

Cathy O'Connor:  I think as we move into the future The Alliance will become more involved in other areas of Oklahoma City that have experienced distressed economic conditions. To date we've mostly focused on northeast Oklahoma City because that has been the area where the Urban Renewal Authority has been most involved. I think as we move forward we will be more active along NW 10, south Oklahoma City, Capitol Hill and the Core to Shore area to name a few.

For a complete transcript of the OKC Central Chat, please visit

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About The Alliance
The Alliance was created in 2011 to better serve the economic development needs of Oklahoma City. 

With its collaboration with city and private entities, the Alliance acts as a comprehensive resource for businesses in need of assistance from the public sector.