Group Offers 12 Initiatives to Boost Area

Article excerpt

The talk is over.

Now it's time for action.

Twelve initiatives presented publicly Thursday by Central Oklahoma 2020 now must be taken to the next step _ that is, implementation by the people who came up with them _ Chairman William O. Johnstone said.

These private citizens, representing about 15 communities and governmental entities, also must figure out how to get through the maze of bureaucratic red tape, bring together collaborating associations _ governmental agencies and like-minded citizens _ and where to get the money.

In other words, Central Oklahoma 2020 is not only a grassroots planning project designed to create a regional vision, but also is a grassroots project designed to bring about changes to achieve that vision, Johnstone said.

The 12 initiatives announced Thursday, developed by the 100-member private-citizen group over the past 10 months, outline specific actions needed to accomplish the goals.

They were presented during a regional celebration in downtown Oklahoma City. Next step, Johnstone said, is implementation which will require the people involved in the planning effort to continue working to develop partnerships to ensure implementation.

"People responsible for making the recommendations are the ones who will make sure they will be implemented," he said. "What we did was that we didn't want central funding or central control, so we decided to perpetuate Central Oklahoma 2020 so that the people who signed up will become responsible for the funding.

"They will do this through partnerships because some of the organizations which have become partners have as their mission the same goals what we have set out as our initiatives. People involved will coordinate with the partners and help develop further partnerships."

When public funding or action is required, the citizens group then will work to rally local citizens and support organizations to convince elected leaders to provide the action or funds, he said.

All the initiatives are not only desirable and feasible, but they are doable.

"We used as our litmus test all the way through our work the idea that we were going to come up with a plan where all the final actions were doable," he said. "Naturally some things will take longer than others, but all are doable."

The initiatives are: Family Resource Centers _ Strengthen central Oklahoma families through neighborhood-based support systems.

Community problems such as crime and poverty generally are traced to the family, which led to the conclusion that healthy families build healthy people, neighborhoods and communities.

People who want to take charge of their lives, but don't have the resources for the right choices, can find help through neighborhood-based support systems. Quality Education _ Break barriers to using new educational approaches and identify effective education qualities that can be nurtured in central Oklahoma elementary schools. …