Well, what to write about? Nothing much happening in finance these days. Just rising interest rates, the Federal Reserve’s inflation fight, California banking news and crypto’s current meltdown to name a few. So many articles, so little time. And even though bad news outsells good 2 to 1, I am on the good news side today, reflecting on OKC and its remarkable resurgence that continues into its 30th year, by my count.
For those of you scoring from home, this resurgence started in 1993 with the successful passage and implementation of MAPS 1. After that, a succession of successes followed. More successful MAPS programs for schools and other projects. The Hornets, the Thunder, entertainment venues and neighborhood redevelopment followed resulting in a much-altered landscape. We have also been blessed with very successful businessmen and women seeking to make a difference and a very capable and efficient government that helped tremendously over the years.
Recently, I was reminded of this transformation in several ways. The first was an article discussing recent population growth in the U.S metro areas. Oklahoma City ranked as one of the 10 cities in the country that experienced population growth of over 100,000 people during the last census period. This statistic is even more remarkable when you consider that all of the other cities with this much population growth were already much larger than we are. So, percentage wise, we are near the top.
A recent The New York Times article about Oklahoma also referenced some of our successes while discussing the state’s new marketing campaign mentioning that we are trying to be the next Texas. The campaign styled “Imagine That” references Oklahoma’s population, recent successes and other recent growth strategies. And while we don’t have all the advantages of Texas’ tax structure, we are pretty similar in outlook and economic drivers. (I call us Texas light). Our affordability and proximity also are advantages and make Oklahoma a natural alternative to the now high-cost Texas. One example of this is the tremendous benefit Oklahoma Universities are seeing from the influx of Texas students in recent years.
And finally, a more specific example of Oklahoma City’s transformation is the new Director of the internationally renowned National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Pat Fitzgerald. (The Cowboy’s impact across the country and internationally is a whole other article.) Mr. Fitzgerald recently accepted the position after moving back to Oklahoma seven years ago. A native Oklahoma, he spent most of his life in California, working for such notable companies as Apple (he ran the iTunes division) and Disney. He is excited about this new opportunity and the state is lucky to have him. He is planning to build on his experience at Disney to improve the museum. So, it looks like a state treasure is set to get even better! He wants The Cowboy more interactive and more like Disney, I expect. Imagine that.
Super input, Pat!
The MAPS ACTION INDEED set off the Immaculate Launch. The plans that came out of the expansive 2020 committees drew the entire Metro dreams to roll the ball.
It took it all with the continuing devotion to trust!
GREAT article Pat! Oklahoma is the State of the future!