The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

June 24, 2013

Attempts to improve Enid through the years have been worthwhile

There’s an old saying to the effect that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s why it was so interesting to see a Jan. 28, 1973, special section printed by the Enid Morning News. The section detailed a four-year, $10 million capital improvement program proposed by the city of Enid.

It seems the plan came about after the 1971 defeat at the polls of a sales tax designed to fund a civic center and other improvements downtown. City officials spent the next couple of years studying alternatives for funding at least portions of the plan and came up with the capital improvement program. Sound familiar?

Some of the projects in the plan included renovations to Convention Hall (which back then housed city offices and municipal court), water supply improvements, new parks, improvements to existing parks and a pathway system throughout the city. Sound familiar?

With respect to parks, the 1973 plan called for a new community park in the northwest part of town. We assume that is what eventually became Crosslin Park. Another new park was planned on city-owned land on South 10th. That became Government Springs South.

The pathway system in 1973 was to receive $20,000 a year for the four years of the program. The breakdown was:

• Year one — Pave a path from Cleveland to Meadowlake Park, along the drainage canal.

• Year two — A path along the abandoned railroad right of way from the drainage canal to the Rock Island tracks, south along the tracks and back to Meadowlake Park in a circle.

• Year three — A path from the railroad tracks near Rupe to 42nd.

• Year four — A path from the intersection of Chestnut and Oakwood along the drainage canal to Cleveland.

Flash forward 40 years and Enid still is working on some of these projects.

Enid’s master trail system is a work in progress, but progress is being made and the trails in place so far have proven to be popular and add a lot to the city.

Convention Hall has been transformed into a banquet facility with two ballrooms and plenty of meeting space.

We don’t have a civic center downtown, but we have the new Enid Event Center, which recently opened and is quickly becoming a popular place for concerts and other shows.

Work on those facilities — Enid Renaissance Project — was done after voters — just like the ones in 1971 — defeated one funding source, and city officials came up with new ways to get the job done.

Another part of the 1973 plan was to buy property downtown along Maine and Cherokee between Independence and Grand for a downtown mall.

Flash forward again 40 years. That land is going to become the site of a downtown hotel, a parking garage and retail space.

A lot of the ideas sound the same, but we all should be proud of the things that have been done in Enid in the past couple of years, and the things that continue to be done.

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