Moving Forward in 2018
Outlook spoke with our re-elected Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb about his third full term and his future plans for the city.
Q: What do you see as our city’s biggest challenges, and how do you propose to solve them?
A: The biggest challenges we have here are growth needs and the community’s wants. They’re not always the same thing. There are projects of scope that the public wants, and then of course we have needs like street construction. It’s balancing that against our revenues.
Q: How do you plan to solve or address Edmond’s growing transportation problems?
A: One of our tools that we’re employing is a thing called Intelligent Traffic System (ITS). We have installed that system along 2nd St., from Saints Boulevard all the way to the city limits. It allows for a managed response to traffic flows. Another way is planning ahead for growth and matching up our money with federal money to expand road corridors.
We’re also involved in the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) discussion for light rail rapid transit. State legislation was approved a few years ago to allow for this inter-governmental interaction, so the stage is set. The easy part is the planning, the hard part is the execution.
Q: What do you foresee being the impact of the Hilton Garden Inn and Edmond Conference Center?
A: What the conference center does is it brings us a business traveler, a traveler we’ve never had anything to offer. Since it’s located where it is, we expect that to be a nice pop to our sales tax activity, and they’re already booked for events out into 2019.
There were four or five major studies performed documenting how valuable a conference center would be. It’s not a convention center, but it’s scaled for meetings up to 800 people. That covers an awful lot of ground. We see that as a rather significant tool in our arsenal to bring visitors to Edmond.
We’re already talking now about how to get the visitors staying at the hotel conference center into the core of Edmond.
Q: Are there any other elements about downtown revitalization or any other projects that you’d like to talk about?
A: We have seen, and are seeing, quite a bit of private investment in retail-residential projects. Some have come out of the ground, some are on the development stage, but that follows about $18-20 million public investment, which doesn’t include the Public Safety Center, but does include a number of capital projects.
Q: What are some of your long-term dreams for Edmond’s future?
A: In my first term, during the 1990s, we were able to accomplish a vision project for this community, where citizens collectively determined a vision for what this community should be. All my time in service, that’s been the template I’ve been working with. Essentially, it means keeping downtown healthy and viable. We need to maintain a high quality of life, and sufficient revenues to maintain those amenities.
I wanted a community where my kids could raise their kids, have careers and do so, and Cheri and I are enjoying the benefits of that, because both of our kids have their families right here in Edmond.
Q: What are your goals for the upcoming year?
A: I hope that we continue the momentum. I’d like to see more of the activity for the downtown private investment. We’re still working with the University of Central Oklahoma on some major projects to see if we can come to a consensus about how we would get that done.
We’re doing multi-millions in investments in infrastructure, both wastewater and water to build for the future.
I just feel honored to be allowed to do this service.