I know it feels like five years since this pandemic began, but today is actually the one year anniversary of the Lawton "CIP" Capital Improvement Plan that voters approved for our city. If you remember even farther back to December 2019, that's when Mayor Booker and your city councilors started talking up all the benefits of this new sales tax. They did a fantastic job too talking up all of the new roads and sidewalks we'd have in Lawton with those additional tax monies. So I thought the anniversary of this sales tax vote would be the perfect place to followup with a progress report on what they said this money would be used for.

From the City of Lawton CIP webpage:

Projects have focused on areas of topmost priority for the community and come on the heels of public forums and presentations hosted by the Mayor. Key areas of the 2020 CIP – “PROPEL” – will include funding for demolition and curb appeal projects, street/sidewalk and infrastructure improvements, technology maintenance, industrial development, airport renewal, youth initiatives, LATS needs and facility upgrades.

Now, in the nature of full transparency and disclosure, I will admit that I've been accused of being "too hard" on our elected leaders this past year... even though I spoke endlessly about how much I agreed with them on so many issues... so I will work through this with my best kid gloves so I don't incur the wrath of those who would have me silenced for having an honest and open opinion about how my tax dollars are being spent.

My instinct here is to start saying things like "Where are all of these new roads we were promised?" "Where are the sidewalks spoken about?" "Why haven't eyesore and abandoned businesses been demolished yet?" etc... but I'm not. Because as much of Lawton as I see on a weekly basis, I realize that just because I'm not seeing the progress that was promised to citizens in exchange for their money, that doesn't mean it isn't happening. While perception is often thought of as reality, it rarely is... right?

So, if you would be my eyes, please tell me where you see new roads and sidewalks going in here in Lawton. Where has the city been making improvements to the general landscape?

I remember immediately after the CIP tax passed, the city angered people in announcing an idea to purchase the old Fairmont Creamery building... but when the very vocal constituency spoke out against it, they moved on. The next talking point was a plan to immediately start replacing our notoriously bad Lee Boulevard. They were to start the project out by Goodyear, but I just drove out that way yesterday, and there doesn't seem to be anything that would lead a person to believe they're working on it... but surely these politicians will keep to their word right? That's why I'm convinced I just can't see the progress we're making on these new roads and sidewalks among the other proposed honeypot ideas floated across to secure a positive vote.

I suppose you do also have to keep in mind the pandemic. It shut down our local economy for a month and has had a lingering effect on small businesses in town for sure. As the CIP was a sales tax, the natural assumption is they just don't have the monies to start carrying through on these political promises, but then I remember what they spent money on... A $14.5million mall... Surely they can't expect people to believe they have money for malls but not roads...That's why I'm asking you to point out the progress you've seen here in town. I can't see the forest for the trees.