Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Banking on Main Street

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Banking on Main Street

Article excerpt

When customers have to drive 15 to 20 miles or more to do their banking, what's a banker to do?

Obviously, open an office closer to his clientele.

That was the situation facing Yukon-based Canadian State Bank, which has a large contingent of El Reno depositors. So President Ross Hill opened a branch in El Reno nearly a year ago. That temporary office will soon be replaced by a new building at the corner of Wade and Bickford in downtown. Its grand opening is slated for late March or early April.

"We have a lot of people from here that bank with us, so it would be more convenient," said Hill, whose bank has two other branches. "Downtown is the largest area of employment. There are more people working in downtown El Reno concentrated in one geographic area. The high school is downtown, many of the restaurants are downtown."

Ward Construction of Oklahoma City is building the 4,500-square- foot facility, which represents a major step forward in El Reno's Main Street Program to revitalize downtown.

"Main Street has been working on this design," Hill said. "Our architect is one of the board members for the Main Street project."

The bank will have the look of early 20th century -- though with new lights, brick sidewalks and landscaping.

"When we're finished with our construction project, this whole block will be done," he said. "The merchants and property owners will have something to look at. This is what it will look like when all of downtown gets finished. The whole block will be totally redone -- landscaping, sidewalks, lighting everything -- it'll all be consistent, the whole block, and then they'll carry that theme throughout downtown."

Darin Miller, of Miller Architects, designed the $1.2 million facility. "He's a graduate of El Reno High School," noted Hill, "and his dad (Dwight) is assistant superintendent of schools here."

The bank will feature brick interior walls, stamped metal awnings with recessed lighting and five lanes for drive-thru banking. …

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