A boulevard could be beautiful. The city and the university could then cooperate to slightly expand and improve the shoulders of the existing two-lane street through the campus and the neighborhood so people could walk and cycle from the campus and the neighborhood to the new sidewalks and bike paths on Lindsey Street west of Berry Road.
The university’s standing in the Norman community is well established. The university is Norman’s largest employer and the state’s second largest employer. Economists have found that university activities contribute nearly $800 million annually to the Norman economy.
The university provides at no cost to Norman one of the most beautiful central parks in any community anywhere. OU is the home of two of the state’s most important and highly attended museums, including the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art that offers free admission as a result of support from the athletics department.
Our research campus continues to flourish, bringing new jobs to our community. Our football stadium has been expanded to bring more people to Norman who contribute to the local economy. Other athletic and arts events also help.
It is well known that President Boren has worked hard to raise private funds from outside Norman to provide these facilities and activities that benefit our community.
This dialogue we are having regarding the future of Lindsey Street is not a symbol of division. Rather, I think it has been the embodiment of the strong, healthy, collaborative spirit that exists between the university and the city. We are not divided.
I hope we are united in a common spirit to make sure that we take this opportunity to consider all of the facts and enhance Lindsey Street as a gateway to our special community. We all want it to be as beautiful as possible. We want its design to say to the world that Norman is a special place.