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Open Streets will return to downtown

After its early cancellation due to spring storms, Lawton's bi-annual Open Streets is returning to downtown Lawton on Saturday. Open Streets is a health-based initiative designed to create a sense of community, promote active lifestyles, promote active transportation, provide information on available community services and aid in the effort to revitalize the downtown area.

Lawton was one of the first areas in southwest Oklahoma to adopt the Open Streets model.

This will mark the seventh time the city has participated in Open Streets.

"It is very much a community effort. A lot of organizations and businesses come together to make it possible, and it's awesome that they do that because that way it's still free for everybody and it's such a cool event," Tiffany Vrska, Community Relations Director for the City of Lawton, said. "We're super thankful for all of the sponsors we've had."

The sponsors for Open Streets spring 2018 include: City National Bank, TSET Healthy Living Program of Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Fit Kids of Southwest Oklahoma Coalition, City of Lawton, Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, Texas Roadhouse and Josh Coody of Arvest Wealth Management.

The 2017 Open Streets events brought in an average of 4,000 attendees, a number that has been consistent for each of the events since the city started hosting them.

There will be three themed zones at the event: the chill zone, the play zone and the active zone.

"Some of them are more hardcore than others," Vrska said. "But some of it is more light, like Hula hooping and corn hole." 

With around 70 vendors on site, plenty of events will be on tap including basketball competitions, line dancing, inflatables and obstacle courses.

During the event, attendees can fill out a survey that is compiled by the city planning department that measures reactions to Open Streets. Last year, 200 people were surveyed. Among those surveyed, 90 percent said it was very important for Lawton Fort Sill to provide these type of events; 95 percent learned new ways to be more active and healthy; 98 percent planned to attend the next event; and 75 percent planned to visit a restaurant or retail establishment while in the downtown area.

"Those are pretty positive numbers and they have been positive every time we've had the event," Vrska said.

The Lawton Constitution

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