For years and years and years, the Norman community has been firmly behind a new senior citizens center.
City council candidates for the last several election cycles have universally agreed to prioritize a new center. But has any progress been made?
Currently, the city is stuck on an apparently dead land swap deal with the University of Oklahoma, which has little incentive to give up a chip they attempted to leverage during the UNP arena discussions. The city should move on from the land swap concept: it's not going to happen any time soon, as the OU board of regents didn't even discuss it in their meeting Wednesday.
Do we know what the senior center will look like? Its square footage? What kind of amenities we'll see?
Of course, the city needs to decide where the center will be before many of those decisions are made. But there's been a clear lack of public engagement about a process to build a new senior citizens center.
Some city council members have championed the senior center, but with the majority, if not all of the council, publicly committing to getting a new one built, it's frustrating that so little has been done.
Considering Norman has already built an east side library, is finishing up construction on a new central library and completed the new Westwood Aquatics Center, it's clear the city can build new things. So, what's taking so long?
Perhaps it's an issue of priorities. City staff and council don't appear to be on the same page about how important a new senior citizens center is: after all, the consensus preference from city staff is that the current central library be remodeled into a senior citizens center.
And that may make sense to people checking numbers on paper, but it's not what city residents are asking for.
With a new stormwater utility fee proposal on the horizon (that's another editorial) and a significant transportation bond, there's only so much political energy in our community. Our seniors deserve a clear plan with a location, timeline and funding source before we move on to stormwater or transportation.
We've had a long time to work on this. It's time to stop kicking the can down the road.