It’s a new year, a new decade, a new beginning, with an exciting new course that has been charted for the citizens of Lawton Fort Sill.

The time is now.

We must be intentional and purposeful about the impending future. We have the opportunity to invest in how we live for the future. Doesn’t it make sense to plan for it together?

Serving as your mayor now for about a year has given me the opportunity to be at many events and functions with you. I have listened, and have heard your heart, as you have shared your ideas, your needs and concerns. In this short time, you have inspired me to become a better leader. I am deeply moved that you have placed your faith in me to create positive change. I am committed to always lead with personal integrity and respect for every person.

Our city council and myself have heard your concerns over young families leaving and the declining home values. The council and I understand that we must become a place where young families will thrive. We understand that we must answer this question, “What will it take to get Lawton growing again?”

A good long-range plan is a road map to get you from where you know you are to heights you never thought you could achieve. The Capital Improvements plan that has been proposed for Lawton is a carefully strategized and durable plan for this city’s future. This is not business as usual. It has been designed to offer you, the deserving citizens, many additions and improvements that will enhance your everyday lives.

It’s very important that I remind you that the CIP does not raise taxes.

This CIP is the fuel that will propel Lawton to the future. You will have the opportunity to set this into motion on Feb. 11. The CIP is a means by which it’s very purpose will attract young people to make Lawton their permanent home, supply them with a career in many areas including not only manufacturing and retail but science and technology, with higher paying jobs to help them support a family.

With a growing population, our home values will recover and begin to increase like in successful cities.

We must ask ourselves, if nothing is done, how many young people will move away? These are our children and our grandchildren. The CIP, and the long-range plan it is based upon, is designed for them.

Our vision for Lawton Fort Sill is one of shared prosperity. The CIP will propel Lawton to this end-state.

Remember: Struggling communities don’t plan to fail. They fail to plan.

We have gone out and studied successful communities and we have learned a great deal. We must invest in job creation. This CIP provides a record amount of funding for job creation. We have included all kinds of jobs, but in particular, we have focused upon high tech jobs, because they provide better pay and will endure into the future. Successful cities encourage innovation. Our CIP provides fuel for the innovation that will transform our city into a place we will all be proud to call home. This CIP will result in an economy for all, through innovative growth. With your support, Lawton Fort Sill will launch projects that create more, higher paying, jobs.

As mayor, public safety will always be the top priority for Lawton Fort Sill. Moving forward, I will continue to ensure that every public safety organization continues to have a voice at the table. That being said, our police department was extremely busy this past year. The Lawton Police Department, the City Council, and myself stand united in our goal to support efforts that make every neighborhood in our community a safe and secure environment where our citizens can thrive. We have to be deliberate about cutting crime. Cutting crime is achievable. We cannot leave public safety to chance.

Great communities are built and maintained on hometown pride and the spirit that fosters volunteerism and generates tremendous community contributions. When people feel connected to something good, they engage in it, they invest in it, they believe in it, and they thrive in it, doing all they can to nurture it, to contribute to it, to protect it, and to encourage its growth. We are committed to growing that type of hometown pride and spirit in Lawton Fort Sill. Together we are at our strongest. Together we are at our best. Great people make a great community and ours is pretty incredible. With your help this February, we will propel Lawton into a prosperous future that will benefit all.

Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving you as mayor of our great community. May God continue to bless Lawton Fort Sill and all of you this coming year. And welcome to a new beginning.

Stan Booker is mayor of Lawton.

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