Last year was unlike any other we have seen in decades. We have spent a majority of the year facing a global pandemic -- one that we will continue to address. We have seen racial tensions boil over in some parts of our country. During a time of unprecedented divisiveness, we have felt ever more under siege.
The pandemic forced us to interact virtually, if at all. Holidays and special occasions passed with little fanfare. We have made so many sacrifices for the greater good. As a result, many of our neighbors feel isolated and alone. In 2021, I want to see southwest Oklahoma come together to defeat this insidious virus. I want to see us come together to continue on the path to greater prosperity. I want 2021 to be our “togetherness” year.
Let’s come together to continue to fight this virus, not only for our personal health, but also for the health of our neighbors. Continuing to wash our hands, watch our distance and wear face masks will help our health care partners mitigate illness as vaccines are delivered and administered. Let’s come together to support our brothers and sisters who come from traditionally marginalized communities. Let’s listen to understand, let’s understand to foster relationships, let’s foster relationships to bring healing and needed collaboration. Let’s find the common ground that will enable us to build a better community.
We in the City of Lawton-Fort Sill have many opportunities to come together to make a positive impact this year. In February of 2020, Lawton citizens voted to PROPEL Lawton forward with the passing of the Capital Improvement Plan. Our citizens really showed support for the CIP, as we more than doubled the voter turnout when compared to the last special election.
Banding together for a common, positive cause is what makes cities thrive! Impacts from the CIP are already being felt. Our Parks Master Plan is underway. The Lee Boulevard Roadway Project has begun. Our community is receiving a much needed sprucing up as dilapidated structures are being removed to make way for new homes and new businesses. The Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission for Youth & Families will soon be appointed. I look forward to working closely with you to ensure the CIP revitalizes business development opportunities and makes Lawton-Fort Sill a better place to live and raise families.
We have a very important vote coming up on 9 FEB 2021. We need to keep our Hotel/Motel Tax in place to maintain our positive momentum. Visitors to Lawton-Fort Sill provide this funding through lodging at local hospitality locations. This funding provides resources for organizations such as the Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra, Lawton Community Theatre, Lawton Convention and Visitors Bureau and Holiday in the Park -- just to name a few. These organizations focused on quality-of-life missions and goals, all work for the greater good of our community, so that Lawton-Fort Sill will be the premier city to live, work and play, in southwest Oklahoma.
Because of what I have witnessed across our community in 2020, I have never had more faith in the heart and patriotism of our citizens. I believe in Lawton-Fort Sill. I believe that when we come together, anything is possible – no feat is too great. I look toward to 2021, because I know our community will continue to work together to protect one another, love one another and celebrate all that makes us special.
As the New Year begins, I hope you will join me in prayer for greater togetherness and greater prosperity in 2021. So, to you, Lawton-Fort Sill, I wish you a Very Happy New Year!