Without my intention, I’ve become a journalist of sorts. I’m in a position such that, I can contemplate the problems & challenges that the city is facing and devote such
a significant amount of time to the problems, that, as the clarity of the ‘solutions’ increases, I feel an even greater responsibility, to test the ideas with other people who are doing the same thing.
While also getting more people ‘converted’ to using their time to solve these other ‘problems’ instead of worrying about the score from the last game…
That said, the corporation of Norman (aka the City) is facing ~4,000,000 budget shortfall for this fiscal year of 2018 and the future trends in retail tax revenue are disconcerting.
The City faces tough choices. Either, we double-down on the retail gambit by approving the projects proposed by the Norman Forward program. They are: 1. aquatic center 2. senior center 3. cultural center.
All of which are worthy & enhancitory investments into the community, however, if we don’t have the capital, how then do we re-calibrate the City’s resource usage to make better use of its potential.
I’m of the opinion that we need Senior Centers & Aquatic Centers & at least 1 Cultural Center. However, I don’t think that we should be pandering to inter-state tourists, we create a city whose history, university,
brand, history, and the uniqueness that makes this place such a magical & transcendent place that captivates the lives of people from all over the world. All over the world. Arabia, China, India, Iran, Turkey, Spain, Italy, France, UK, Japan, and on and on…
But, what’s our vision.
This is what I see…an aquatic center that is actually a walking ‘river walk’ & triathalon simulation of a marathon-swim. It could be an integratable semi-annual event that would be the first of its kind in the entire world?!!? Yes, there may be lazy rivers at water-parks, but which other city has ever invested in their own rehabilitation, recreational, and athletic perfection project like this?
Do you think Bob Stoops wouldn’t be sold on that program? Plus, there’s already Westwood & Andy Alligators in that area, why do would we want a 3rd concentrated water-park? It needs to be accessible to the rural areas & the I-35 corridor. if we want to attract the interstate traveler, which we all do, because our city is so amazingly transcendent, then why not use the vacant space in the area between Robinson & Tecumseh to recreate the ‘Waving Wheat’ about which Rogers & Hammerstein wrote so evocatively? That’s an element of our culture that’s been forgotten? Why stop there?
Why not have our design staff learn experiment with useful trees, companion plants, herbs, wild flowers, and simulations of pre-industrial Norman life. That’s an attractive amenity that would captivate the imagination of residents & travelers alike.
There would be significant right-of-way land acquisition problems, but I would like to make that pitch to the landowners regarding the project’s potential. I’m confident that I could convince them of why it’s necessary for the future of our community.
The companies who own the mineral rights under our city don’t have much loyalty to Norman. They have a fiduciary responsibility to sell that commodity to the highest bidder and generate the greatest profit for their shareholders. We can’t expect them to share some of those resources. The corporation of the City, County, and School Boards needs to diversify their revenue sources.
The corporate city currently gets most of their revenue from sales tax collections, thus the attractiveness of corporate retail to increase property values & increase cash incomes, however, this notion of fusing the idea of a cultural center & a rendering of ‘tall grass prairie, wheat, 19th century norman survival experiences could be incredibly bankable.
We’d need to coordinate an efficient movement of tourists from the hotels to the lake experiences, but double-decker buses, or convertable buses could meet that need while parking garages, both at the lake and near the highway intersections could prove profitable in the short term and capable of accommodating of larger events. This would be concurrent with the beginnings of a Rural East, Suburban Norman, & Urban OKC.
Some type of connective rail project that could enhance the speed with which people moved throughout those three areas efficiently is an investment in efficiency and the aspects that enhance more than the ‘quality of life’, but also the ‘quality of experience’
build a center-city enlivening program that enhances the Norman brand, attracts traveling tourists w/ the least amount of development, and some coordinated marketing programs, new skill acquisition, and the realization of a new, never before seen vision?!!! Oh my Heavens, that would be an amazing enhancement and solution to the most of our Citizens’ needs and aspirations.
Cultural Center alternative: create a 24/7 campground in which the Native Tribes & Woodsmen perform ceremonies, rites, and teach survival skills. Lake Thunderbird is a state park, so there are areas for that, however the challenge becomes
attracting people to the I-35 hotels and transporting the Americans to and from the Native American Heritage Center would initially be done by a separate bus/shuttle system while the Corporation of the City began construction of a light rail system to move people to and from their transcendent experience factory efficiently and w/ pleasance. Don’t you think the 1st Nations people & woodsmen would appreciate the respect for their skills being shown by the ivory-tower university & its subsidiaries. I know it would.
I realize that this is a dreamy synthesis, but what massive project hasn’t seemed ‘dreamy’ at its inception? The 3 Gorges dam was ‘dreamy’, the Pyramids were ‘dreamy’, the Burj Khalifa was ‘dreamy’, but they’re all here now; for ‘better’ or ‘worse’, they’re here & those ‘dreams’ became reality due to the power of the visionary and their ability to convince others to partner with them in the realization of that vision.
Do you think I couldn’t make this pitch to representatives of the People’s Bank of China? Do you think I couldn’t sell this idea to JP Morgan/Chase or financing? I’ve worked with the PBOC before. I worked w/ the State-owned Construction Company of China’s American division (CCA) down in the Bahamas. Do you not think that they’d be interested in gaining even stronger relationships w/ one of the most oil-rich spots in the lower-48 states? Absolutely I could, and absolutely they would.
It just has to be presented very carefully, which isn’t my style, so I’d need some help. What do you think?
Thanks for reading.