NORMAN — Bob Goins, professor emeritus for the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma, was named to the Citizen Honor Roll on Tuesday for his many contributions to Norman.
In 2008, the Norman City Council created a recognition policy to acknowledge the leadership of volunteers serving the community on boards, commissions and civic projects. Goins was honored Tuesday at the annual reception for volunteers and council members.
Following the reception, new council members Greg Heiple, Lynn Miller and Stephen Tyler Holman were sworn into office by Judge David Poarch.
A resident of Norman for more than 80 years, Goins grew up in a house on Gray Street, where the library is now located. Goins provided expertise on historic projects for the Santa Fe Depot, Sooner Theatre, the downtown historic plaques and the James Garner corridor.
Additionally, Goins served on the Legacy Trail Design committee, where he “played an instrumental role in the design of each of the plazas along the trail,” according to the citation.
“We used the plazas to tell the history of Norman,” Goins told The Transcript earlier this year. “Starting near Duffy Street, the plazas focus on Indian exploration, followed by the founding of Norman, the university, the period of the Navy presence and then the war years.”
Goins’ service to the community is long standing. He served on the Board of Parks Commissioners from 1971 to 1981 and on the Historic District Commission from 1993 to 2005. Goins has also served on the Greenbelt Task Force, the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Committee for Libraries and the Centennial Ad Hoc Committee.
He currently serves on the Architectural Review Committee for the University North Park TIF.
With Goins’ help, the clock that once hung at the First National Bank on the bank corner at Peters and Main streets was pulled out of storage and mounted across from Sooner Theatre. The Veterans Memorial in Reaves Park reflects his concept of an American eagle to pay homage to the local men and women who served in the military.
As a founding member of the Norman Area Land Conservancy, Goins is helping promote positive changes in the Norman landscape.
“We need to tell the story and tirelessly strive to persuade developers, city planners and the public that today’s decisions will be their legacy,” Goins said in the February interview.
In addition to new council members, incumbents Robert Castleberry and Mayor Cindy Rosenthal also took oaths of office. Castleberry was initially appointed to fill the remaining term of Hal Ezzell after Ezzell moved out of Ward 3. Winning new slots were Heiple in Ward 1, Miller in Ward 5 and Holman in Ward 7.
Following the administration of the oaths of office by Judge Poarch, the city council honored outgoing council members Roger Gallagher, Dave Spaulding and Linda Lockett.
Gallagher said he had hoped to serve one more term, but he believes in term limits.
“I had a personal opinion to do two terms and get out,” he said.
The former Ward 1 council member worked to get the new animal shelter and the dog park expanded during his term. He commended City Manager Steve Lewis for helping with the dog park and spoke highly of Police Chief Keith Humphrey for his work with apartment managers in the Multi-family Crime Free housing program.
“This will help the quality of life in Norman,” Gallagher said.
Spaulding talked about the relationships he built while in the council, including an unlikely friendship with Council member Tom Kovach. While Spaulding and Kovach have diametrically opposed positions related to social issues, the two became friends.
Spaulding said he appreciated his supporters but also his detractors for “keeping him honest.”
Lockett expressed gratitude.
“I want to thank so many people,” she said. “I came to appreciate the mayor very much.”
Hailed by other council members as an independent thinker, Lockett showed her character by warmly embracing Holman, the opponent who unseated her on the council and a neighbor. The two pledged to continue working together for the good of Ward 7.
In other council business, Jim Griffith was elected mayor pro tem. Rosenthal was elected to serve as the city’s representative on the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, and Council member Chad Williams will serve as alternate. Castleberry will serve on the Board of Trustees for the Retirement System.
The council members each spoke.
“Lead with kindness,” Heiple said.
Kovach waxed philosophical.
“A council is not a monolithic thing,” he said. “We’re a team of individuals.”
Kovach said it’s those individual differences that are important in a democracy.
Castleberry commended outgoing council members for their authenticity. He talked about quality-of-life improvements the council might hope to tackle in the near future, including an aquatic center, library and parks.
“If you improve the quality of life, people are going to come here,” he said. “You’re going to have growth.”
Castleberry’s comments alluded to the tension between opposing viewpoints on how to handle growth and quality-of-life issues as the city stands at the cusp of many future decisions including high-density zoning and economic development. Those issues have proven to be some of the community’s most divisive.
“We’ve got some exciting times ahead,” said Griffith, echoing that sentiment.
Council member Greg Jungman simply thanked outgoing council members for the time they gave to the community.
‘I’m so happy and excited to be sitting up here,” newly elected Miller said.
Williams was absent, leaving Holman as the last council member on the dais to speak. Holman thanked his former teacher, Marrae Quinn, for getting him to attend city council meetings when he was in her leadership class. Quinn was in the audience with her husband and former council member Dan Quinn. Holman described himself as a shy kid.
“I didn’t think I would ever be one of the ones sitting up here,” he said.
Rosenthal kept her comments short but spoke about examining safety initiatives in the light of recent tornadoes.
The road ahead will be potentially rocky, with the city council facing votes for increased sewer rates to come into compliance with a Department of Environmental Quality consent order. Water also will continue to be an issue, as will water rates and a possible vote on a city charter amendment.
Still, Rosenthal’s new fiscal year is starting off differently than last year. Her appointment as ACOG representative, while relatively minor, may indicate a shift in the balance of power on the council from a majority that often opposed the mayor philosophically to a more middle-of-the-road and potentially supportive council.