Q&A - June 14, 2015

Oklahoma State University started its operation in Okmulgee in 1946 when the Glennan Military Hospital was purchased and converted into a training facility to help WWII veterans reenter the civilian workforce. The campus that is now known as OSU Institute of Technology has been in continuous operation ever since. It required great vision to see the potential in abandoned military barracks nearly seventy years ago, but look at what OSUIT has become today.

Many people still have great vision in Okmulgee. Allow me to explain as I respond to this next question.

Q: I have heard people talking about Okmulgee Rising, but what does it really mean?

Great question! First off, I’m glad that people are starting to hear the phrase “Okmulgee Rising” and beginning to ask questions about it. This type of inquiry is exactly what we want and need.

Okmulgee Rising is the name that has been attributed to a grassroots movement that is revitalizing many of the buildings in historic downtown Okmulgee. But it is much more than that. It represents a growing group of local residents who are proud of their community and want to see it prosper once again. Okmulgee Rising is a rallying cry for everyone in this community who is tired of their hometown being rundown and putdown. It is our way of telling the pessimists and cynics that “things may look bad for our town now, but don’t count us out—we may have been down, but we are rising.”

Yes, it was born out of the desire of some residents to restore life back to a dying downtown, but Okmulgee Rising is bringing fresh attention to the many marvels of our wonderful community: from the beautiful lake system to the west, to our superb higher education corridor to the east; from the amazing tribal complex to the north, to our excellent healthcare facilities to the south; from the many unique shops and restaurants throughout, to our caring people and peaceful way of life; we have much to be proud of right here in Okmulgee.

When friends and neighbors agree to focus their attention on what they have rather than on what they do not have, attitudes begin to change. When local groups and organizations begin to coalesce around common interests, positive things start to happen. When the collective discussion centers on what we can do rather than on what we cannot do, we become unstoppable as a community. This is the truest form of economic development and certainly the most sustainable.

Okmulgee Rising is simply reminding us all about the resources that we have right in front of us. The work is here, and it is now. This is our place and our time to leave a legacy.

You can become involved. Learn about your community. Shop and buy locally when you can. Support local events with your attendance. Clean up and take pride in local appearances.

Volunteer your time and efforts. This is an exciting time to live in Okmulgee and you can be part of it. Visit okmulgeemainstreet.com/okmulgee-rising to learn more.