- By The Norman Transcript Editorial Board
- Nov 19, 2017
In October 2015, Norman voters approved a groundbreaking quality-of-life package known as Norman Forward, agreeing to dedicate funds generated from an increase in sales taxes to fund new parks, pools, sports fields, libraries and public art projects.
Included in the material used by proponents of the plan to sell it to voters was the promise of a senior citizens center. Unlike all of the other Norman Forward projects, however, no specific dollar amount was dedicated to the center.
Current and former city council members have expressed support for a new stand-alone senior citizens center, albeit with some concerns about whether Norman Forward will generate enough money to fund it. But we’ve heard over and over again that the center is a priority. At a forum in 2016, every city council candidate expressed support for a stand-alone center.
Granted, the Norman City Council and city staff have been busy, implementing Center City zoning regulations, developing and passing a budget, determining the steps to take on the DeBarr Avenue name issue and considering a masterplan proposal for the north portion of the University North Park.
But it’s clear the senior citizens center hasn’t been a priority over the last two years.
And with the holidays advancing quickly upon us, it won’t be long before we’re listening to new city council candidates make senior center promises.
Consider again the words of our July 24, 2016, editorial, which expressed frustration that the verbal commitments of our city leaders to a stand-alone senior citizens center had yet to produce a tangible plan: “The truth is, our local candidates have used a stand-alone senior center as political bait for one of the most faithful voting demographics — senior citizens. But up to this point, while every member of the city council has acknowledged the importance of a senior center, we still lack a cohesive, comprehensive plan for what the center will look like, where it will be, how much it will cost and how we’re going to pay for it.”
That was 16 months ago. Norman Forward was passed two years ago. We’ll repeat the questions from our May 6 editorial: “Where will it be built, how much will it cost, how will the city pay for it and when will it be built?”