On August 24th, Enid voters will be making a very tough decision in deciding the fate of a bond proposal by the City of Enid.  The bond proposal will be for improvements downtown to the Conference Center, Convention Hall/Mark Price Arena, and other improvements.

Opponents of the plan are calling it another raise in taxes at a bad time in our economy.  However, it should be noted that this is a continuation of an old tax, so tax rates will not increase from their current levels.

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Uh, they forgot to render the stop lights I guess.

In addition, the City of Enid has found a way to match the $20 million bond proposal with an additional $20 million, in what can only be described as budgetary wizardry.  So, this is truly a once of a lifetime chance.  The budgetary wizardry will only be available for a limited amount of time.

A website has been set up by a group called “Friends for Gateway Enid.”  The website presents the entire proposal complete with graphics showing how downtown would be reshaped.  I have to admit, I was impressed by what I saw.  My only complaint is that the website is making some pretty big boasts of economic impacts.  $35 million a year in revenue?  300,000 NEW visitors a year?  That’s pretty lofty.  They present no source of how they came up with those numbers.  For all I know, they just said, “$35 million sounds good!” and threw it on a website.

All in all, I think the plan (download it here) looks pretty decent.  Its been described as a “white elephant” and written off as crazy by its opponents.  But I ask them this:  Why not do this?  We are essentially getting a vastly improved section of town for merely extending a tax we are already paying.  Convention Hall/Mark Price arena will get a major overhaul and be saved from the wrecking ball.

Am I excited about all of this?  Not really.  I think there are other ways we could improve our town with the money.  BUT…and this is a big but…at least its something.

Progress is something this town is not used to having as a choice.  So it is a bit foreign.  But I think its high time for this town to progress.  Let’s get out from the “we’re a small town” mentality.  Let’s change our town!

I for one, will be voting YES to progress.  Progress Enid….get used to it.