The Denison Development Alliance altered its incentive agreement with Ironroot Distillery on Thursday, voting to provide the business’ owners more flexibility with a grant for infrastructure improvements. DDA’s Board of Directors discussed the change in executive session during the organization’s monthly meeting before reconvening publicly to endorse the change.

The Denison Development Alliance altered its incentive agreement with Ironroot Distillery on Thursday, voting to provide the business’ owners more flexibility with a grant for infrastructure improvements. DDA’s Board of Directors discussed the change in executive session during the organization’s monthly meeting before reconvening publicly to endorse the change.


The distillery’s co-owners, brothers Robert and Jonathan Likarish, asked the DDA to modify the incentive package after negotiating a lower price with Oncor Electric to provide industrial-grade, three-phase electricity to the distillery building just off Highway 75 on Loy Lake Road. The DDA granted the Likarishes’ request Thursday by allowing as much as $20,000 that had been earmarked for the electrical upgrade to instead be used to install a water-filtration system in the building.


"They were able to get their electric taken care of, so they didn’t really have an expense there," said DDA President Tony Kaai. "But when they did their research on the water quality of Denison, there was … an issue. (In) the distillery process, water quality is key. "


Prior to approving the Ironroot change, Kaai and Board Chairman Robert Brady delivered a summary of a recent meeting with Schuler Development regarding the company’s high-end residential addition to Denison on the shores of Lake Texoma. Schuler held a charrette strategy meeting recently that brought together representatives from the city with consultants hired by Schuler to sketch out the details of the development’s design.


"The quality of the specialists — he didn’t waste any money on these people; there were high-class people there," said Brady, while also informing the Board that the biggest news from the meeting was Schuler’s decision not to include a golf course in his plans. Brady explained that surveys showed potential residents wanted the green spaces associated with a golf course more than they wanted the course itself. He said the developer now is looking at alternate recreational facilities.


"Soccer fields, playgrounds, walking trails — lots and lots of walking trails — inland lakes, stuff like that," Brady said. "(One of the consultants) said this piece of property is prime — one of the better properties (being developed in the nation). ‘Exquisite’ was the term."


In other business, DDA Vice President of Operations Loretta Rhoden reported that the alliance spent only a fraction of its allotted funds during the last fiscal year, meaning the organization has more money for economic development projects in the coming months.


"In our budget that we submitted to city council last year, we expected to have $1.7 million in expenses … and we only spent $933,000," said Rhoden.


Kaai informed the Board that the alliance is in discussions with several businesses looking to relocate to Denison, including one company interested in setting up shop at the site of the old hospital. He also reported that North Texas Regional Airport-Perrin Field is still in the running to become the next home of the Commemorative Air Force, a nonprofit group that works to restore historical aircraft. Kaai said NOVO 1, a telephone customer service company that began operations in Denison in 2011, has already exceeded its initial employment estimates.


"Their vision was to have 300 people, and they’re pushing 400," said Kaai. DDA provided economic development incentives to NOVO 1 in order to land the company two years ago.