Awhile back the City of Lawton purchased the Central Mall in downtown Lawton for 14.6 million using the CIP (Capitol Improvement Program) funds. The ideal behind it was to use empty space in the mall to house the FISTA (FIRES Innovation Science and Technology Accelerator) project. Both the old Sears and Dillard's locations in the Central Mall are currently empty. They will be remodeled and repurposed for military contractors that will be a part of the FISTA project. The remaining space will be used for retailers.

Last week the Lawton City Council met to discuss the current situation at the Central Mall. They talked over marketing and ways the city could encourage new businesses to move to Lawton and open up in the mall. One idea the council is considering is to hire a marketing company out of Moore, OK. called Freestyle Creative to help re-brand the mall and assist in attracting new businesses. It's still being considered, but the council wants more details as the price tag to hire Freestyle creative is over $95,000. That's WAY OVER the original marketing budget the city has for the mall, so additional funds would have to come from the Hotel Motel Tax. A little over $80,000 would be needed to hire on Freestyle Creative.

Now that the City of Lawton owns the Central Mall they're looking to fill empty space and there's a lot of it! Parts of the mall will be used for the FISTA project and the other for retail stores and restaurants. They hope to fill all the remaining empty spaces in the mall with new stores, places to eat and other businesses. There's a lot of empty stores right now and plenty of space to rent out. So what kind of stores would you like to see move to Lawton and open up in the Central Mall? Take the quick poll below. You can select up to 5 different categories or fill in your own answer for what type of stores you'd like to see open up at the Central Mall.

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