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Downtown Odessa's continued growth to benefit the entire community

The 'Annual State of Downtown Odessa' was held to celebrate the progress in the downtown space. The goal now is to keep the momentum going by adding more diversity.

ODESSA, Texas — Downtown Odessa has seen new business and event opportunities emerge so far this year. On Thursday night, the City of Odessa held a celebration for downtown to reflect on the growing space. 

Conversations that were had would echo that the state of downtown is on the rise. Downtown Odessa has experienced great growth over the past several years and the goal is to keep that momentum going. 

Downtown is more than just a space, but rather a pulse. 

“Really it is the heartbeat of the community," said Katie Neason, keynote speaker for the 'Annual State of Downtown Odessa.' 

Neason is a real estate entrepreneur from Bryan, Texas, who has seen Downtown Odessa’s progress from afar. 

“I love what they’ve done," Neason said. "The heart and the fabric of this community is amazing and how far they’ve come in such a short amount of time.” 

Elizabeth Prieto took over as Executive Director of Downtown Odessa earlier this year, and she shares that perspective. 

“I have seen the growth in the last few months, but when you go back and look at the history of downtown over the last three, five, 10 years – you can really see the growth and it’s really exciting," Prieto said. 

Growth that includes Odessa Arts helping to add 'First Friday' to the monthly calendar. 

“It’s so exciting," Prieto said. "Some people come down and have dinner and then they start walking around. They ask, “where’s this at?’ You point them in the right direction and they’re walking downtown, and Downtown Odessa is very walkable and I think that’s something most people are like “oh that’s just around the block, so yeah, let’s go!’ So, it’s really good to show people that ‘hey, let’s come down’ and we have a lot of things to offer.” 

Downtown has a big responsibility in Odessa. 

“It’s the personality of a city," Neason said. "I mean it is what sets the tone. When people come and visit -- they’re not going to go to a subdivision to experience the city -- they’re going to go downtown, and what they see downtown represents what they’re feeling is for the whole town.” 

John Beckmeyer is still fresh in his role as City Manager of Odessa, and he feels that representation has a bigger impact. 

“It emanates out to the rest of the city," Beckmeyer said. "Odessa – we’re pushing its brighter future – it starts here downtown and that’s what we’re working on.” 

Work to keep that heartbeat going strong. 

“We want to continue growing," Prieto said. "We want to bring in more businesses. We would love to bring in a little bit more restaurants as well just so that it’s a little bit more diversified, and that way when people come down they have a variety of choices.” 

Prieto noted that they are wanting to provide more activities for families in Downtown Odessa as well. She also mentioned that their goal is to provide stuff to do for the entire community. 

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