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Making the case for Okmulgee

Seven weeks ago, I started writing about how to help Okmulgee grow its local economy by scaling our community. Over the course of this series, I described the need for the old guard of leaders to make room for the new guard of leaders. I stressed the importance of cooperation among public and private sectors within the community to advance projects of community-wide interest. I argued that Okmulgee should build upon its many strengths as a diversified community to create new opportunities for the future. I made the case that phase one of Okmulgee Rising (rediscovering downtown Okmulgee) has been a success and phase two (attracting outside investors) is well underway. And I have been building the case for phase three in Okmulgee’s return to prominence—a recruitment campaign to attract young professionals who might have graduated from a local high school and then moved away or who might have an interest in purchasing a project home within commuting distance of Tulsa.

Today, I want to conclude this series with a call to action.

Q: How can Okmulgee launch a recruitment campaign?

A: If you are serious about answering this question, invite me to come speak to your local group or organization. I would be delighted to talk to you about the next phase of Okmulgee Rising and how you and your friends can be a part of it.

Okmulgee needs brave visionaries to step forward—local residents who love Okmulgee and want to see it become a better place. We need people who are willing to organize their friends, coworkers, church groups, or civic organizations—people who want to begin answering the question of how are we going to scale Okmulgee and recruit new residents and new businesses.

We need locals who are willing to change the narrative about Okmulgee and help write a new chapter in this town’s history. Okmulgee needs a volunteer recruitment team—people like you, who can make the positive case for Okmulgee and describe the merits of our town to others.

If we are going to take Okmulgee to the next level, it is essential that we build a convincing argument for Okmulgee’s outstanding public schools, its affordable housing, its low crime rate, its vibrant downtown, its convenient access to Tulsa and the Interstate system, its beautiful recreational lakes, and of course its wonderful people. Okmulgee is a desirable place to live and start a business. There is a way of life here that people are looking for, and it is our task to help communicate this fact to others.

If you’ve never thought of yourself as a community leader before, don’t let that stop you. Just use your circle of influence to get people talking about how to promote Okmulgee and recruit new people to town. Let the details take shape from those conversations. Positive voices like yours are becoming stronger. Slowly but surely, we are changing the conversation in town from running down Okmulgee to promoting Okmulgee.

Don’t wait for someone else to take action. Okmulgee needs YOU to take action. Please email your thoughts and ideas to me at

Dr. Bill R. Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and board member of Okmulgee Main Street Inc.

Okmulgee Times

320 W. 6th
Okmulgee, OK 74447
PH: (918) 756-3600
FAX: (918) 756-8197