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Chickasaw Nation launches $6 million recovery campaign for Marietta and Sulphur

Anna Pope
People walk in Downtown Sulphur the day after a devastating tornado ravaged the city.

The Chickasaw Nation is starting the Business Rebuilding and Recovery Campaign to help get local businesses in Sulphur and Marietta back on their feet after tornadoes slammed the areas on April 27.

Over a month ago, a deadly swath of tornadoes swept through the state leaving a trail of destruction in south-central Oklahoma.

An EF-3 hit Sulphur, killing one person and mangling about 200 buildings. Many were leveled. On the same day, an EF-4 tornado hit Marietta killing one person, running through a Dollar Tree Distribution Center, damaging a hospital and other structures.

The campaign aims to help restore local businesses and boost economic recovery in Marietta and Sulphur.

Its overall goal is to raise $6 million and the Chickasaw Nation officials said it’s made a “substantial financial contribution” to get things started, according to the campaign’s announcement.

In Sulphur, the project aims to enlist an architecture firm to help preserve Sulphur’s historic downtown area. In Marietta, the initiative is focusing on restoring crucial goods and services in the city.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said over 50 local businesses had significant or total losses in the cities because of the storms.

"This fund will help ensure they have an opportunity to rebuild in a manner that allows them to reopen as soon as possible while preserving the historic character of the communities,” Anoatubby said in the announcement.

A committee of residents, public officials and business leaders are spearheading the campaign. Anoatubby appointed Bill Lance, the Chickasaw Nation Secretary of State and a lifelong Murray County resident, to chair the initiative.

Lance said Anoatubby and civic leaders will work with government agencies to help Chickasaw citizens and other affected residents.

“We will focus on raising funds to support the local business communities' enormous rebuilding and recovery efforts,” Lance said in the announcement. “The restoration is essential for providing vital goods and services and generating tax revenues that fund crucial public services.”

Other agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency have also allocated millions of dollars in assistance.

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Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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