Q&A - October 4, 2015

When you are anticipating something exciting to happen, it is so easy to grow impatient. If you’re like me, you want to see progress happen overnight. I plant grass seed in my lawn and wonder the next day why I still see bare patches.

Intellectually, I know that it takes time, but I still expect to see results right away. The ironic thing is that once my lawn starts to fill in and is growing fast, then I just want it to slow down so I don’t have to mow so often. It is hard to be satisfied with the pace of progress.

I know everyone is anxious to see downtown Okmulgee filled with life and activity once again (myself included). We want to see every building restored and fully occupied, and we would really like to see it all happen overnight. But we must understand the realities involved and remind ourselves about the virtue of patience. Downtown Okmulgee did not fall into disrepair overnight, and it cannot be refurbished overnight either. Yes, we will slowly notice signs of progress, but it is reasonable to assume that we will continue to see bare patches for quite some time.

The next question voices my own impatience, but I promise, I was not the one who submitted it:

Q: When is this all going to happen?

For openers, I must respond that this is all happening right now. Don’t turn your eyes away, because we are witnessing history in the making. The historic downtown district of Okmulgee is in the midst of a momentous grassroots resurgence that truly defies comparison. People who have lived here for their entire lives are talking about the remarkable forward momentum that they have never seen in this town before. Visitors from around the state are marveling at the magnitude and pace of the renovation projects in downtown Okmulgee. Professional developers and community consultants are amazed by the synergy that has developed here between public and private cohorts and by the obstacles that have already been overcome. It would seem that all eyes are on Okmulgee, Oklahoma right now, and this town is on track to become a national model of community revitalization.

I recognize that some downtown building owners are cautiously waiting to begin their own renovation plans until they see more evidence from OSUIT or progress from other building owners, and I completely understand the prudence of this kind of reasoning. But I have the greatest respect and appreciation for the true “trailblazers”—those who are investing in Okmulgee right now—the building and business owners who are showing the rest of us how it is done.

As far as OSUIT’s downtown renovation project, I am pleased to inform you that it is moving along according to plan. Our architects are actively engaged in the design and planning phase of the Old Post Office Complex and our construction timeline is projecting a fall 2017 move-in date for OSUIT students. It is not happening overnight, but it will be worth the wait.

I am just as anxious as the rest of you, but we are just going to have to be patient a little longer. In the meantime, please continue to send your questions to osuit-president@okstate.edu.