Yesterday evening (05-08-12) Lawton citizens showed up in force and filled City Hall for a historic City Council meeting that will forever change, for the better our local economic landscape not to mention city government for years to come! The people have spoken and our elected officials had no choice but to listen.

Last night's meeting was an open discussion to hear a proposal from developers Hunt Properties about bringing Target to Lawton.  In the end the City Council voted 6-2 in favor of a 2.5 million dollar tax incentive that would allow Target to develop and build on Northwest 82nd street.

For years that site has remained barren with the hopes that someday we'll see something in the way of retail stores and outlets, that day has finally arrived! The wait is nearing an end, Target is coming to Lawton! We can certainly thank those council members and city officials who best understand how this development will positively effect our community.  We can also thank a very involved and active grass roots movement The Lawton Citizens for Economic Growth who have lead the charge and continue to make a significant impact on our cities issues and needs.

So why was this a fight? If you're wondering who in their right mind would vote against this, that's a great question. The reason some city council members voted against it and our Mayor opposes the development is the downtown revitalization project on 2nd street. They fear another retail development on the west side could interfere with their plans downtown. That's the short answer.

I think this city is big enough and will support both projects. The reasoning behind the opposition in my opinion is absolutely crazy. Why the hell wouldn't you want both? It's a win win as far as I'm concerned. The 82nd street project is moving towards reality, Target could break ground as soon as July of this year. The 2nd street project is moving much, much slower with no guarantees and what seems to be a never ending construction period. When or if it's completed it will be years down the road. Target is ready now! Plus with Target on the west side we can utilize some of the tax revenue to fund 2nd street. Make sense?

The first and most significant hurdle has been overcome. Now Hunt Properties will submit an updated contract and proposal to the council in two weeks for the city's approval. In the meantime we should all be aware of what's going on and what's at stake. Stay up to date with the process and insure results will best benefit Lawton as a community.

What are your thoughts about all this? Leave us a comment and tell us what you think.