NORMAN — Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett’s talk to the Norman Chamber of Commerce this week was a testament to the power of positive thinking. Chamber Chairman Trey Bates called him a hero for the renaissance of Oklahoma City.
It has taken a couple of mayors, a bunch of city council members, some civic-minded business leaders and a bunch of trusting taxpayers to make it all work. (It doesn’t hurt to get a big league sports franchise, too).
Norman’s role in the economic revival of central Oklahoma can’t be dismissed either. Mr. Cornett’s video featured many Norman attractions and events. Many were from OU sporting and cultural events.
“We have to work together,” the mayor told Norman business leaders. “The quality of life in Norman today is better because of downtown Oklahoma City.”
Indeed, both cities have benefited from lessons learned in the 1980s and 1990s. Norman, like Oklahoma City, lost banks in the 1980s. The university’s presence was a steadying force, although it was not immune from state budget problems.
A lasting challenge for Oklahoma City is the public school system which had bond issue troubles of its own. City leaders loaned their political capital and a sales tax spot to the Oklahoma City school system and that of surrounding districts with Maps for Kids.
A seminal moment, Mr. Cornett said, was when Continental Resources relocated from Enid to Oklahoma City rather than Houston or Denver. That signaled the company believed future college graduates would want to live in central Oklahoma.