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Millennials not waiting for their turn to transform downtown Oklahoma City

Downtown Oklahoma City's leadership may skip a generation.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: May 6, 2013 at 8:29 pm •  Published: May 7, 2013

One of the online blogs that I follow daily is, a site hosted by friend and Generation X writer Jennifer McCollum.

McCollum's site is filled with thoughts about the issues facing those born between 1961 and 1981, reminders of our youth, and the differences between the various generations.

Jennifer and I are representative of a generation that saw its ranks in Oklahoma City depleted back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. If one does the math, those years represent the time when many folks our age were graduating college and looking to start their lives and careers.

In Oklahoma City, back during the waning days of the oil bust, that choice came with an urgent plea by professors — leave the city, and find real opportunity elsewhere.

Whether it was out of love for our hometown, fear or stupidity, a minority of folks like Jennifer and I stayed in Oklahoma City. The baby boomers took positions of authority and influence in Oklahoma City, and generational standouts like Ron Norick and Kirk Humphreys launched MAPS and MAPS for Kids along with other revival efforts that have spurred an urban renaissance.

At some point, the baby boomers will either voluntarily or be forced by nature to turn over civic leadership to the next generation. The question is, will this task be taken up exclusively by Generation X?

With the next generation on the rise, Generation Y (born 1981 to 2000 and also referred to as millennials), is a group that seems unwilling to simply wait their turn. Sure, some Generation X folks have taken an active role in promoting downtown — but in Oklahoma City, they are clearly outnumbered by the younger up and comers.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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