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WEST OKC TODAY: A blank canvas to paint dreams on

OKC Mayor David Holt became the 36th mayor to serve Oklahoma’s capital city in 2018 when he was elected with 78.5 percent of the vote.

Mayor Holt weighed in on the explosive growth that is happening in Western OKC, including the area between Yukon and Mustang.

“I think any prospective resident of Oklahoma City is on the verge of making a smart choice,” Holt said last week. “This city offers a unique combination of quality of life and ease of living. OKC has all the diversity and cultural amenities you would hope to experience in a large American city, but you don’t have to spend all day in traffic and everything is more affordable. There aren’t very many American cities offering that unique combination right now. When you’re speaking specifically of west OKC, you have all those same general qualities, plus a lot of new, attractive housing and some neighboring suburban communities that offer their own amenities to nearby residents. For some people, that’s exactly what they’re looking for. I would encourage any potential new resident to visit different parts of the city and see what feels right for them. We offer a lot of variety.”

What is it that is attracting businesses to the area? In Mayor Holt’s opinion, “Thanks to MAPS and other investments, OKC is attracting people from around the country, and they have to live somewhere. It stands to reason that previously undeveloped parts of the city are going to see new housing and new businesses as a result of this overall growth. We’re seeing infill in the core of the city as well, but people who move to OKC also like the opportunity for lots of space and new housing, and that can attract them to the undeveloped areas. Many parts of west OKC have been a blank canvas for a long time, and now people are painting their dreams on it. We think that’s great.

“We continue to be bullish on the overall economy of OKC, and west OKC is no different. We’re seeing historically low unemployment and record sales tax checks. I think that will continue in the next year.”

Growth does not exist without some sort of correlated pain. The chief growing pain for the West OKC area is the ongoing roadwork. This roadwork, however, will ensure the quality of the roadways matches the quality of life in the area.

“Road projects have some unique challenges in OKC,” the mayor said. “The number one challenge is our size – 620 square miles. We’re one of the five largest cities in the U.S. by land mass. You can fit Manhattan, Boston, Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia and Miami inside the city limits of OKC at the same time. So we have the lane miles of six large cities but the taxpayers of one. There simply isn’t enough funding to keep up with streets the way we’d like. Our choice to live so far apart has some benefits for our quality of life but it also has some real world econ

omic costs. Having said that, in 2017, the voters approved the largest investment in street repairs in city history, almost $800 million. That initiative – known as ‘Better Streets, Safer City’ – is making a difference, but I think it will always be a challenge because of our unique sprawl. I’m sure you’ll continue to see a lot of road improvement happening in west OKC as we try to stretch our financial resources as best we can and catch up with the demand.”

Speaking specifically about West OKC, the mayor said, “Many people have zip codes or school districts associated with other cities but they actually live in OKC. One easy way to figure it out is to look at your trash can. If OKC picks up your trash, you live in OKC and I’m your mayor. OKC is now America’s 22nd-largest city and one of the hottest cities in the country, so take pride in being a resident. And we’re proud of you in return. Stay in touch with civic issues and your councilmember, and we’ll continue to grow together. We value west OKC, we know that it is rapidly growing, and we look forward to seeing its development in the years ahead.”

For more information about Mayor Holt, go online to okc.gov.

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