Life on Council House Square

Task Force Update


The Okmulgee Roger Brooks Task Force, under the Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce, is still going strong and staying active as a positive voice in this community! Anthony Nieto (Okmulgee Times General Manager) and I co-chair this Task Force, and we’re working hard to create community buy-in for the projects we, and the Task Force members, have in mind. We met at the start of February to follow up on existing projects and discuss goals for 2018. The Task Force meets the first Thursday of each month in Mabrey Meeting room at 6th and Grand. You are always invited to attend, and we’d love to hear your ideas and see you get involved!

One of goals at the Task Force has been to see ‘complete streets’ in our community. This means streets that are also pedestrian and bicycle friendly, not just for vehicle traffic. We’ve been attempting to stripe bike lanes and change the flow of traffic in the core of our downtown for about the last year and a half. Recently, the City was able to stripe bike lanes down Seminole, and they look fantastic! Thank you, City of Okmulgee! In light of this change, and the challenges that come with 6th Street also being State Highway 56 through our downtown, we’re wanting to change our plan to stripe bike lanes along east 6th Street and Mission Lane, as a ‘welcome road’ of sorts to OSUIT. I’d love to see OSUIT banners along the street as well!

Another project that we’ve been promoting and have had going the past few years is our downtown plants and benches. This winter was the first cold season we’ve tried some hardy plants around our square. They haven’t done as well as we’ve hoped, but soon, in Spring, we’ll replant our pots with plants similar to those we’ve had the last two years and Council House Square will be blooming with flowers again. Primarily my wife, son, and I, along with Deb Path, have been taking care of the plants for the last two years. Going into this third year, we’re asking organizations and individuals (you!) to step up and help us water the plants throughout Spring and Summer. You could take a week of the month, or even a day of the week. Do it with 2-3 friends and you’ll be done in no time! It’s essentially the four sides of our Square, with a couple of plants right off the Square on Morton. It’s something my family really enjoys, and a great way to serve your community. Contact me if you want to help out!

Last year, we had great success with ‘Youth Work Days’ funded by Okmulgee Tourism. This year, I want to work with our youth again on several cleanup projects, and even our Okmulgee Neighborhood Revitalization Program (contact me on this, I’ve written on it in the past). I think we can also accomplish some smaller projects with private funding. It’s important to include our youth when working in our community and falling in love with our town. I’ll be seeking funds for supplies needed for the cleanup days, and also to purchase food for the volunteers. Just like last year, I’ll be reaching out to City Leaders to come speak to youth and serve alongside us!

I get so excited about the projects we have going on at the Task Force that it becomes impossible (in this column) to take you through the list and give you updates on ALL of them. Just know, you have about 20-30 community leaders consistently meeting each month brainstorming ways to improve our community and push #Okmulgeerising forward! You’re welcome to join us anytime!

Email me anytime at:

*Additional (and awesome) contributions were made to this article by Kasey Bowers.

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Richard Larabee is an Okmulgee downtown resident. He serves as President of Main Street, and Chairman of The Roger Brooks Okmulgee Task Force Committee under the Chamber of Commerce. He is an Independent Petroleum Landman whose office is located in the McCulloch building across the street from the Grand Old Post Office building in downtown Okmulgee, where OSUIT students just recently moved in! #okmulgeerising

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