Action In Muskogee participants learned Tuesday that Muskogee lags in several key areas compared with benchmark cities.
For the second session of AIM, participants picked up where they left off two weeks ago. At the first session, participants shared their visions for Muskogee. Tuesday’s session focused mainly on where Muskogee ranked statistically compared with several regional benchmark cities in education, economics, health and crime. The next session will focus on how to bring about change. There are five sessions in all.
Decreasing Muskogee’s high school dropout and poverty rates and increasing per capita income and population were the main areas that need to be addressed, according to those who participated.
“No matter how you slice data, data is dry,” said Brien Thorstenberg. “It was an eye-opener. The last session was ‘where you want to be.’ But you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’re starting from.”
Thorstenberg, the director of business and economic development for the Port of Muskogee’s Business Development Office, is spearheading the effort. He was encouraged by the turnout of more than 175, although it was down about 100 from the first session.
“It’s a long process,” he said. “I’m encouraged by the amount of re-engagement there was. And there wasn’t as big a dropoff (of attendance) as I was expecting.”
Muskogee High School senior Taylor Bratcher attended with several other MHS students. She didn’t attend the first session, but came Tuesday after hearing about AIM from a school counselor. She plans to attend the next three, she said.
“I can see changes happening in Muskogee because of this,” Bratcher said. “I’m going to bring more friends next time. At my table, we had a wide variety of age range and types of people attending.”
Thorstenberg said AIM’s process impressed him the most.
“We have the mayor, the city manager, the superintendent of schools sitting at different tables next to students and people from all different backgrounds,” he said. “And they all have something valid to say. Everybody has an equal voice. The solutions are representative of the population.”
Keyonne Derrick, a lifelong Muskogee resident, plans to attend all five sessions.
“I want Muskogee to move forward,” said Derrick, 39. “We need to overcome the obstacles of the last two decades.”
The planning event is a project of the Muskogee City-County Port Authority to develop a community-inspired implementation plan with accountability to improve Muskogee.
The next AIM session is 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25. A free, light dinner will be served at 5 p.m. each session.
Reach Mike Carrels at (918) 684-2922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Action In Muskogee visioning process.
WHEN: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 25, Oct. 9, and Oct. 23. A free, light dinner will be served before each session at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Muskogee Civic Center.
INFO: (918) 682-7887 or email@example.com.
ETC.: The planning event is a project of the Muskogee City-County Port Authority to develop a community-inspired implementation plan with accountability to improve Muskogee.