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A unique opportunity for Lawton community

I remember the drought. I remember it well.

The wettest May on record broke the 4-year nightmare in 2015, about the time I was transitioning into the city manager position. Until then, I led the Public Works/Engineering Department for 23 years, working day-by-day to upgrade the City’s foundation and infrastructure – and ardently advocating for alternative water projects and improvements.

Having directed the design and construction of the Southeast Water Treatment Plant, I moved onto exploring the idea of alternative water sources not long after. Council approved our plan to partner with Garver LLC in 2014 and studies began. To date we have identified areas for drilling test holes in the Arbuckle-Timbered Hills Aquifer and preliminary engineering work has begun.

Make no mistake. This project is a priority. This project is moving forward.

But just as priorities evolve and arise within various businesses and even our own households, priorities for this community have also progressed since our lakes are now full and, by reducing consumption, have already met nearly half of our initial goal – increasing the City’s water supply by 10 MGD.

The Tuesday proposition allows Lawton the unique opportunity to move forward with not only the alternative water sources project, but two newly emerged priorities: Technology and industrial development needs.

I recently met with a brilliant group of young leaders as part of the Junior Leadership Lawton Fort Sill “Government Day.” Their morning at City Hall began with a simple question – “What would it take for you to want to build a life here?”

The classic “there isn’t much to do here” echoed through the room. But that discussion elevated to an overall resolving notion that community members of all ages and standing seem to agree on: We must grow Lawton.

That growth begins with forward-thinking strategies that will advance community development, promote technological collaboration and bring more industrial diversity to our economy. The opportunity to do so is at our fingertips. Join me in making it a reality when you visit the polls today.

-Jerry Ihler
Lawton City Manager

The Lawton Constitution

102 SW 3rd, Lawton, OK 73501
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