I'll admit, I'm not like a whole lot of other people in our community.
I haven't lived here since the '90s, '80s ... or '50s, for that matter. I couldn't tell you what used to be where, which business graced this corner or that corner, which family owned that building for how long, and so on and so forth.
On top of all that, I have a terrible memory. I have trouble remembering things from five years ago, let alone last year. So I don't really remember everything that was south of Convention Hall (now Stride Bank Center) before all of it was built.
What I do know is that even a few years ago, downtown seemed a lot different. But now things have changed. Our city center has an event center, a handful of good eateries and many new businesses, including a brewery, which I thought would always be cool to have but never dreamed would actually be here.
Slowly, the ... atmosphere, for lack of a better word ... in our city is changing. Evolving, almost. We're becoming a bigger city ... and if not a bigger city, at the very least one with a bigger "look." I know some people who have lived here for a while appreciate the small-town feeling that Enid once had, and even still does among its people.
I believe it's a natural progression for Enid to become bigger, and home to more things that you would see in a bigger city. That does not mean Enid is going to be, or needs to be, Oklahoma City or Tulsa. Far from it.
Enid needs to be its own city. Right now it is, and I hope it continues to be. Enid can still be Enid while it grows bigger and better.
There's a lot unique about Enid. That includes the "Under Her Wing was the Universe" piece by artist Romy Owens that is being built south of the Stride Bank Center.
When I first saw the renderings, I envisioned something quite large, but actually seeing it and driving by it several times a day, you appreciate its size. It's also pretty unique, and I think it will be just a wonderful addition to downtown when finished.
I recently made a trip home to Lincoln, Neb., to attend my youngest brother's wedding (I'm the oldest of four boys). It's amazing how that downtown has been transformed after only a handful of years, but also one thing I appreciated is that there seems to be art everywhere. If not at every single street corner, you'd drive a block and there would be something interesting to look at.
How sweet would it be if Enid had a piece of art on every block downtown, or on each corner? I know, I know, that's probably not realistic, at least for the foreseeable future. But if we want to make Enid unique WHILE it grows (and it WILL grow), then we need to think about how we can further enhance the city we live in while preserving its natural majesty AND paying respects to those whose blood and sweat helped start and shape it.
If that involves more artwork like "Under Her Wing was the Universe," I'm all for it.