Key Priorities

1. Economic District Development

 

At the top of our agenda is bringing together a more united effort in Ward 7 to launch new projects and continue upon the success of others. The traditional N.E corridor of OKC including 10th, 23th, and 36th Streets has seen some progress with the Pivot Project, Northeast Renaissance Renewal Project and TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) Zones. However much, much more is needed.

 

Kirk will work with community leaders to bring about a rethinking of best steps to draw consumers from the downtown core of Oklahoma City into a new district (yet to be named) that features existing restaurants and businesses along with a host of other opportunities. The new Innovation District, connecting the Health Sciences area with Automobile Alley, promises to contribute to more jobs and growth.

 

The leadership role of a City Councilman will be extremely important to bring together city hall, community leaders, economic developers, investors, a consortium of banks and lending institutions as well as City, State & Federal assistance in order to breakthrough previous barriers to progress. Conversations are already underway with the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce officials and The Economic Alliance leaders to improve relationships and create and accelerate forward progress.

 

Making room for minority ownership opportunities and building upon the African-American, cultural uniquenesses of this promising part of OKC is of the highest priority. Equally important will be creating safeguards to protect life-long community members from being displaced. Creating more jobs, better jobs, and better pay is the goal.

 

Kirk intends to assemble a N.E. OKC Leadership Council to unite N.E. OKC idea leaders, business owners, community and church leaders to help lead the charge.

 

Additionally, the Adventure District, Frontier City District (unofficial) and other areas still lack restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, an adequate number of individual auto-friendly fuel stops and more to support the growing population in the northern half of the ward. The I-35 corridor in Ward 7 is one of the busiest traveled regions of Oklahoma City. Sales tax dollars from Ward 7 residents are often spent in the suburbs outside of OKC because of the lack of access to amenities needed.

2. Strategic Partnerships for OKC Public Schools (and other schools)

 

Plans are in formation to work with the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce and the Black Chamber of Commerce to create and facilitate internship and mentoring opportunities for high school students of the area to learn and experience the many different successful businesses of Oklahoma City. While there have been small efforts in this focus to occur, it has become clear a better process and fresh approach of leadership is needed to make this functional for the school system, students, and businesses.

 

Increased focus on helping students apply for Oklahoma’s Promise program and the pursuit of college educations is key for greater progress. Also, leading a major increase in involvement in Metro Tech is crucial. Metro Tech provides training for 11th-12th graders as well as post-graduate training for jobs with excellent salaries.

 

Kirk believes the City Council can do much more in finding other ways to assist OKCPS.

 

We are extremely grateful for the MAPS projects that have built and remodeled so many school facilities. LET’S FINISH THE DREAM by finding ways to support and improve the students, teachers, classrooms, and administration to raise the level of success for every child.

3. Changing the Narrative about N.E. OKC

 

It is clear to Kirk through his discovery process of building relationships with influential leaders and community members that a wrong narrative about N.E. OKC exists in the minds of many people living outside of the area. As a City Councilman, Kirk believes he can lead an effort to help build stronger relationships with city government to work together in improving the N.E. corridor.

 

A new narrative of potential, promise and possibilities is emerging. N.E. OKC can become a place of cultural exchange for the greater OKC community and Oklahomans to come and experience the rich heritage of African-American influence upon our world. Current iconic establishments already exist exposing patrons to the history, arts, music, culinary delights and culture of this special part of our state. Many more dreams, ideas and expressions of cultural distinction are in the beginning stages.

 

Continuing to improve relationships with OKC Police Department officers and officials will be a positive for all N.E. residents. While a number of crime rates and concerns have greatly decreased over the past decade, there is still work to do. Addressing the challenges of poverty, incarceration rates, public school leadership and faculty consistency, family support systems and more are already underway by many heroic groups. Significant movement is occurring to dramatically improve the health and wellness of residents. More intentional focus and high profile attention to these agendas will prove to be highly fruitful.

 

***Make plans to join a Candidate, Neighborhood or Business Forum with Kirk Pankratz. Also, follow along on Facebook – Kirk Pankratz Page (Political Candidate) to stay up to date.