Q&A - May 20, 2016

It seems like every time I visit downtown Okmulgee, I see something new going on. Improvements are happening everywhere I look (e.g. new businesses and restaurants going in, work crews and service vehicles operating up and down the streets, old buildings being renovated, fresh coats of paint, new signs and awnings, fun sidewalk displays, etc.).

Yes, each time I visit downtown Okmulgee, I see life returning to this town, and it is a wonderful sight in deed.

There is great interest and activity in our downtown, more than can be described in one column, but this week, permit me to comment on all the new flowers.

Q: What is the latest in downtown Okmulgee?

Begonia, Braided Hibiscus, Geranium, Hosta, Impatiens, Lambs Ears, Lantana, Moses-in-the-Cradle, Moss Rose, Palm Plant, Petunia, Purple Fountain Grass, Spike Flower, Sweet Potato Vine, and Zinnia. These are the common names of some of the newest residents in downtown Okmulgee.

Not too long ago, dozens of Okmulgee volunteers descended on the square with trucks, trowels, and watering cans. They spent hours lifting, digging, caring, and sweating—all in an effort to bring color and atmosphere to the town we love. Thanks to these many volunteers, over sixty planters with flowering plants have been placed in front of the buildings around the square. Brightly colored park benches and bistro sets have also been set out to adorn the sidewalks downtown. Dubbed “Transformation Tuesday,” this downtown beautification project was the culmination of several months of planning and was a partnership between the Okmulgee Main Street Design Committee, the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce Tourism Council, the “Roger Brooks” Okmulgee Taskforce, and the City of Okmulgee.

Downtown Okmulgee is slowly coming back to life. It is springtime now, and the new plants are small, but with care, they will grow and bloom well into the fall providing an array of color and sweet aroma throughout the summer months. The beautiful additions to the square are creating our own little oasis in the heart of our town.

If you haven’t visited downtown Okmulgee recently, you are really missing out on a special experience. You should pick a pretty day and come downtown. Take advantage of the free parking. Get out of your car and walk. Do some window shopping. Grab a bite to eat. Listen to the music playing. Take in the splendid architectural details. Stroll around the historic square with a friend. Study the signs, murals and other works of art. Find a shady bench, and enjoy a coffee or a sandwich. Slow down and spend some relaxing time downtown. Watch the traffic go by, but make sure you pause long enough to “smell the roses” and all the other beautiful flowering plants in bloom.

We have much to be proud of in our little town. I would like to say “thank you” to everyone who volunteers their time to make Okmulgee a better place. Your collective efforts are really starting to show. Okmulgee is truly rising!

Please continue to supply me with your questions, and I will do my best to answer them. You may send them to osuit-president@okstate.edu.