Woodward, Okla. —
Voters in Woodward will decide a pair of sales tax issues on Tuesday(Aug. 13) - one is a new half-cent tax for a fire station and improvements on 34th Street and the other is a continuation of a half-cent tax for capital improvements.
In this view both are important to the city's growth and both need to pass.
Residents and officials alike have long talked about the need for a new central fire station. The current building has served the community well, but it is outdated and overcrowded.
In addition, the 9th and Oklahoma location isn't the best for getting in and out in emergency situations. The intersection is arguably the busiest in this part of the state and when you mix in fire department vehicles responding to emergencies the traffic situation becomes pretty dicey at times.
Building a modern, state of the art fire station on the old Golden Corral property should alleviate some traffic and safety concerns.
In addition, the new building will allow the department to have all its equipment and personnel in one spot - again improving response times as well as training. It will also allow for some expansion.
As for 34th Street, well Woodward's growth appears to be to the south and west, meaning the traffic along that corridor isn't going to lessen.
Mix in the education campuses along that route as well as the conference center and movie theater, and you have one busy street - sometimes a little too busy.
A lot is happening in that area and anything that will help with traffic is welcome.
Widening the street in some areas and adding turning lanes at key intersections should make it a little safer for everyone.
And the continuation of the half-cent sales tax for capital projects is, in this view, also a necessity.
If the city is to grow, this tax is needed to fund infrastructure and other improvements. Over the past 5 years, the half-cent has funded over $5.5 million in projects across the city including nearly $2 million in street and parking overlays.
The estimation over the next 5 years is for the half-cent to generate another $6.45 million - all ticketed for equipment, streets and various other projects.
Much progress has been made in several areas in the city over the past decade and much more is planned in the coming years.
Let's continue that progress.
Join me in voting yes on both of these important sales tax issues.
Johnny McMahan is the managing editor of the Woodward News.
Note: Early voting is available on Monday (Aug. 12) from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the election board office in the Woodward County Courthouse. On Aug. 13, regular polling places in the city will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.