View From the Blimp
By Chamber President Debra Welch
While floating between 1,000-1,500 feet above Lawton, my view from the Goodyear Blimp Wingfoot Two provided me a new perspective of the city. From a bird’s eye view, I located various local landmarks and my first home in Lawton. This unique, top-down perspective also gave me the opportunity to meet more people in the community and listen to their thoughts about the growth of our community.
Many of my shipmates have lived in Lawton much longer than I have, and they shared historical perspectives of the sights below, identified who owned what and how certain things came to be where they are today. Not surprisingly, each of our viewpoints were first personalized to our own history and experiences, and as we listened to each other, our perspectives became broader in scope. All the conversations caused me to consider how this community developed and why some develop more rapidly while others become stagnate or cease to exist.
A quick comparison of other cities in Oklahoma that have seen great growth and prosperity show common traits. Look at Oklahoma City, Broken Arrow, Yukon, Owasso, Edmond and Norman. The citizens of these cities have voted to invest their personal dollars in projects that will prepare them for growth and prosperity. Just as the projects vary and may include incubators, beautification, sports facilities, sidewalks and convention centers, the project acronyms vary from MAPS to CIP or SIP. And the effect is the same. These investments have successfully been able to attract new industry, new businesses and new citizens to their communities based upon their collective investments.
One consistent factor for these successful cities is that they all substantially invest in their school systems. They all invest more in their schools through millage rates than Lawton. Lawton citizens have voted to move our city forward through many of the same projects listed above, and we have an opportunity to align with other successful cities in Oklahoma by voting to invest in our schools. The Board of Directors for the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously to support the Lawton Public Schools Student Investment Program, which will be put to a vote of our citizens on Nov. 14.
Take a larger, blimp-type view of the significant impact you can make for your community by voting to invest in education in Lawton. Prosperity is a shared vision.