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UPDATE: Boost to Bricktown sparks controversy over use of tax incentives

OKLAHOMA CITY – Leaders in Oklahoma City say they will provide tax incentives to help an oil and gas company establish its headquarters in Bricktown.

Tapstone Energy plans to move into the mostly vacant Mideke building, located at the corner of Main St. and Oklahoma.

In exchange, the city will begin negotiations on potentially $1.5 million in tax incentives.

Bricktown, which is located along Reno and Sheridan, is an entertainment destination.

Just a block away, Main St. has long been forgotten until now.

John Baker, with Standley Systems, said, “We know this is a thriving area and we want to be part of that.”

Baker moved onto Main St. last year.

Just across the street, the long empty upper floors of the Mideke building will now be the home of a new oil and gas company called Tapstone Energy.

Oklahoma City councilman Pat Ryan said, “The top floors of that building have been vacant for years.”

Ryan voted in favor of negotiating with Tapstone on tax incentives that will allow the company to create 150 new jobs over five years.

Ryan said, “We wanted these jobs here and we didn’t want to take a chance they’d be in Houston or Denver or someplace else.”

Councilman Ed Shadid said, “We have to stop incentivizing behavior that would happen even without the incentives.”

Shadid thinks the economic incentives are a waste because Tapstone likely would have created the jobs regardless of the tax assistance.

Shadid said, “Tapstone is gonna come to OKC regardless of the incentives we give the company.”

Still, those already in Bricktown don’t care about the controversy.

They think Tapstone will be positive for the Main St. corridor that has long been ignored.

“It’s very exciting. It has been underutilized, but a lot of things are migrating north here,” said Baker. “We’re extremely excited Tapstone will be joining us on the Main St. corridor.”

Right now, Tapstone employs a couple dozen workers and is already based in downtown Oklahoma City.

It’s been founded by former Sandridge CEO Tom Ward.