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I’m on the fence overlooking two green pastures… maybe.

On October 12th, the residents of Edmond, OK (well, at least 9% of them probably) will be hit the polls to vote YES or NO on a temporary tax increase. This tax will be used to purchase land that has long been the subject of pretty hot discussion.

To develop or not? Commercial or residential? Those are the big things that always seem to be at stake with this piece of land just south of the City’s coveted Hafer Park.

I’m on the fence.

This post should be WAY more in depth than what I’m going to write but people ask me and.. well.. I’m just going to keep this simple and sweet.

Vote Yes?

Not so fast. This would probably end a long battle the City has had to face each time this piece of land comes across the desk for development approval. It would end up being purchased and basically attached to the park in order to avoid it ever being developed. 22 acres for $4,000,000.

Green space is all good and, at the beginning, a YES vote felt like an easy answer for me. Let’s be done with it already. BUT then I starting thinking of all the other things like upkeep, taxes, middle housing………

Parks are great. Edmond has something like 25 or 30 something parks and common spaces. In fact, I’m pretty supportive of the work Edmond is doing to protect canopy and provide fields and trails and that sort of thing.

But do we need another one? Right here? For what, I think, is the most the City has ever spent on raw land?

Vote No?

Today, there is a tremendous mismatch between the available housing stock in the US and the housing options that people want and need. The post-WWII, auto-centric, single-family-development model no longer meets the needs of residents. Urban areas in the US are experiencing dramatically shifting household and cultural demographics and a growing demand for walkable urban living.

Missing Middle Housing, a term coined by Daniel Parolek, describes the walkable, desirable, yet attainable housing that many people across the country are struggling to find. Missing Middle Housing types—such as duplexes, fourplexes, and bungalow courts—can provide options along a spectrum of affordability.

Missing Middle HousingDaniel G. Parolek

Here is the truth. I really want to see density and development and a look towards that missing middle housing that our town really needs. It seems like in Edmond, the saying is always..

“I am really supportive of apartments, multi family, etc…. just not right here.”

Housing in this spot would be an incredible opportunity with access to a lot of what people need: access to parks, schools, food and drink, retail and so much more. It would increase our property tax base which powers Edmond Public Schools. It feels more attainable.

I’m on the fence but not really.

The more I dig into this one, the more my vote seems pretty clear. I want to see this sort of residential development and I can’t think of a better place to do it than near one of our awesome parks and best commercial site plans our City has.

I think it is a bad time for us to spend our money on a park in Central Edmond. With the upcoming developmental costs we will put forward in East Edmond, why not hold off and do something there?

I applaud the City for creatively coming up with a deal like this. It is probably the first sort of private / public purchase that has been organized like this that I can remember or think of. I just want to be sure we have the votes and the money and the spend power to purchase and develop in the right ways when it comes to parks and public space.

Right now? I’d say let’s hold off.

Let’s put housing on the market that seems more attainable and accessible to our community.

Let’s fill in the gaps and spend wisely.

Let’s let this one go and turn into what I think has great potenial.

To me – the grass might be greenish on both sides but I choose “NO”.

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