Thursday, August 28, 2008

Strolling downtown with skeletons and dirty laundry

Another meeting of my small town's Planning and Zoning Commission and another appearance by yours truly to solicit support for my ongoing downtown historic walking trail project.

A little background music, Maestro...

Upon my arrival over three years ago to my central Oklahoma town of 4380, one of the first community organizations to snag my warm Stay-at-Home-Dad body was a local non-profit group that was building a series of walking trails around and through my small town. The folks running the show seemed sincere and committed to their cause of promoting a "healthy and active lifestyle" for the fellow citizens of their beloved burg so I gave them my support and a-ok and have been involved with them ever since.

In fighting the good fight to revive and maintain the integrity of our old Downtown district, I came up with the idea of erecting historic markers along the sidewalks and alleys of our old Main Street district, in an effort to generate some interest in the pioneering buildings and people who preceded my immigration to our burrough on the prairie.

Turns out we were able to secure some private donations for the project and before I knew it, I was spending a great deal of time in our local library, scanning hundred-year old microfilmed issues of newspapers looking to generate some tidbits of text for the proposed downtown markers.

I know, I know, "Jack, next time you get a bright idea just put it in a memo!"

The research turned out to be more fun than I had anticipated. True, I wasn't Nicholas Cage searching for a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, but delving into the lives of those who have come before satisfies the voyeur in me in a relatively harmless manner.

Okay, so maybe I stepped on a few toes of local historians who I initially turned to for fact checking and instead received more than a few raised eyebrows and muted harrumphs.

And its possible I may have inadvertently uncovered more than a few inaccuracies in some local myths that have been bandied about the population as facts and givens for so many years.

But if it gets a few more people walking downtown, generating an appreciation for this town and those people who built it, then what's a few exposed sores and picked scabs among community members?

So I get myself all dooded up (clean shorts, clean shirt, combed hair, etc.) and ready to present my case to the P&Z board to allow the non-profit I work with to install our next set of historical markers on the city sidewalks... when what do my wandering eyes did appear, 3 Board short of a quorum.

Let's just reschedule the meeting Thursday at noon, that okay with everyone here, okay fine then...."

Hey, even in my small town, fair is fair and a quorum still means majority rules.


AMomof2 said...

Does this mean that the path expansion mentioned in the paper will go on or be postponed?

I'm thinking of the one that received the state funding.

OKDad said...

Not to worry, both trails will be built.

The public meeting was just a formality we had to fulfill for the state grant.

We'll make our case at the next P&Z meeting to get their input on the other trail extensions.

Anonymous said...

I too live in a small town historic district. Your postings had me laughing, very creative and witty. It's great to have humor when living in small town Oklahoma but hey, although a bit slower, what a great place when you can impact a town with one idea and your kids can get a ribbon! Kudos for the blog!