View Full Version : Norman Economic Development Coalition Business Practices

02-21-2012, 09:05 AM
As a resident of Norman for 12 years, I have seen Norman grow dramatically in population and in the retail sector. However, it seems that Norman has a hard time recruiting high paying jobs or major corporations to relocate to the area. In the past, I know the NEDC gave a great effort for the PETCO relocation of over 500 high paying jobs to only lose them to San Antonio. But it seems NEDC and City of Norman are focused more on retail development, and public improvements, rather than recruiting high paying jobs.

Outside of the University of Oklahoma job sector, graduating students have a hard time finding high paying jobs, which would keep those students in Norman, to live and grow families. The key to successful economic growth of a city is the access to good jobs.

Is it just me, or should the City of Norman and NEDC focus on the development of high paying jobs? Or should Norman always remain a college town, bedroom city, a typical suburb?

02-21-2012, 01:13 PM
Stillwater has attempted to get away from its distinction as a blue collar college town of low paying jobs that don't require a college degree by building the Oklahoma Technology and Research Park. The point of it was to provide a place for new high tech companies to get a start, become successful, move out and make Stillwater their permanent location. Unfortunately, not much has happened out of that strategy. Instead, Stillwater may be have better luck in reestablishing its blue collar college town status, if interested parties decide to take over two huge vacant manufacturing plants now up for sale. One rumor has it that a firm that may offer up to 1500 jobs is interested.

If Norman, is like Stillwater, it will surely remain a college town, more than anything else, but surely less blue collar oriented than Stilwater. Only 55.3% of the people both live and work in Norman, so its likely to continue as a city far from not totally devoted to itself. Stillwater has also been more retail focused. It wanted a Olive Garden so bad that it gave the restaurant a partial credit from sales taxes for 5 years, if it would come in. There doesn't seem to be any interest in trying to get industry to come in through incentives of some kind. Maybe Norman needs to try more than it has done to offer incentives to lure industry in.

Stillwater is trying to attract retired people as new residents. I would guess many are OSU alumni who want to spend their last years keeping up with the OSU sports scene. This week rezoning was approved to let a large new retirement community build.

02-21-2012, 09:51 PM