Woodward, Okla. —
Local Woodward leaders have a lot of big expectations for the coming year.
"I have the highest of expectations for 2013," Woodward City Manager Alan Riffel said.
"I think it may be the biggest year for Woodward in terms of economic development and growth," Riffel said.
That includes development on the housing front as well, as the city manager said that the city will likely see "both single family and multi-family developments" in the next year.
Woodward Mayor Roscoe Hill said the "promises of more housing and apartments coming up" will help to address what has become "about the only problem we have in Northwest Oklahoma."
"Our biggest problem is housing and as soon as we get that problem alleviated then people who want to move to Woodward will have a place to stay and a job if they want it," Hill said.
The mayor said the area's ongoing low unemployment rates show there are jobs out there for people wanting to work.
"We have less than 3 percent unemployment in Woodward County and there's probably 5 percent of people who wouldn't work even if they had a job, so really there's no unemployment," he said.
Riffel said he expects that to continue with more jobs and businesses coming into the area.
"I expect the energy sector will continue to drive our economy and continue to create even more jobs in the area," he said.
And it isn't just the industrial area that looks to grow.
"I believe our retail sector is destined to expand with new shopping opportunities for communities," Riffel said.
Woodward Chamber of Commerce President C. J. Montgomery agreed.
"In terms of retail development, I think we'll just continue to grow. Woodward is a very attractive place to do business," Montgomery said, noting "that will help us continue to keep Woodward in the forefront of community retail and industrial development."