ENID, Okla. — Seeing the potential
Benson said the continued growth in retail sales has enabled the city to invest $42 million in streets in the last five years.
For those who see the potential in Enid, there’s immense opportunity for investment, Benson said.
“Those opportunities are right here under our nose, and the only ones who are taking advantage of it are the people from outside of Enid,” Benson said. “The people that see it coming are going to make piles of cash.”
He said Enid still is held back by locals’ perceptions of their own city, and of its future potential for growth.
“We have long failed to live up to our potential,” he said.
He said Enid routinely outperforms cities like Stillwater in retail sales but still suffers a perception of having less to offer than other towns.
Many people remain resistant to changes or investments that could draw more investment to the city, Benson said.
“Every step of the way we run into the same ‘You’re not from here, you don’t know how we do things’ mentality,” Benson said. “We need to start focusing on and embracing our bright future.
“We have the challenge of overcoming a perception here in Enid, and that’s the perception of mistrust,” Benson said.
He said the community tends to “galvanize around the negative comments,” and become mired in pessimism.
“People don’t understand just how much potential this town has,” Benson said. “This is an extremely capable community, not only financially but intellectually.”
City of Enid director of marketing and public relations Steve Kime said public perceptions of Enid could change drastically if people would look at what Enid has, compared to other cities of its size in Oklahoma.
“If the people of Enid would just get on a bus with me and go visit some other communities in Oklahoma, they’d realize how blessed they are, and how far this community has come,” Kime said. “Numerous communities our size would love to get rid of the plywood on the windows downtown, and have what we have here in Enid.”
Kime said Enid is outperforming other cities its size because of hard work and investment.
“If it was easy everyone would be doing it,” Kime said. “Most communities in Oklahoma don’t have the patience, they don’t have the drive and the vision we have here. Enid is sitting very pretty.”