ENID, Okla. — Looking at expansion
Continuing that drive forward means continuing to invest in the city’s future, Benson said.
He said improving quality of life issues in Enid through the upcoming parks plan vote is the next crucial step. He described the March 5 vote as a “very important juncture in the future of this city.”
Voters will cast ballots on a plan that calls for raising $20 million by increasing the city sales tax rate by one-half cent for five years, and $30 million in general obligation bonds by extending an existing 7 mill ad valorem tax. The proposed plan would renovate all existing parks; build two new neighborhood parks; build a large community park at 30th and Randolph, to include a water park, pool or other water feature; and expand on the city’s trail system.
Benson said the plan goes beyond improving the quality of life for Enid’s residents to upgrading the city’s image for visitors.
“It makes a big statement to every visitor and every potential new business about our commitment to our citizens and our commitment as a community to ourselves,” Benson said.
He said the new community park at 30th and Randolph could help create incentive for new businesses on the city’s east side.
“We can’t develop to the west much more,” Benson said. “We have overrun our infrastructure over there. But, we have a massive opening to expand to the east.”
He said more than 80 percent of the city’s retail sales currently take place on West Garriott between Cleveland and Garland.
“We have massive opportunities up and down Van Buren and east of Van Buren on Garriott,” Benson said. “We have great potential there, and all we need to do is change the prevailing winds.”
Benson said the parks vote is more than a vote on parks — it’s a vote on investing in the city’s future.
“If you believe in it, and you want to invest in yourself and your community, then vote for it,” Benson said. “If not, then vote ‘no,’ and we’ll walk away from it. But, it’s not going to get done.”
Whether the parks plan passes or not, Benson said the city’s future rests on the community’s willingness to move forward.
“We have to embrace our potential as a community,” he said. “We have to believe in ourselves, and be willing to step out of our comfort zone and embrace our opportunities.
“We can return to what we had five, six or 10 years ago in this community or we can continue this ascension to greatness we have going,” Benson said. “We are the economic center of northwest Oklahoma, and that’s a great opportunity for Enid.”