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Oklahoma City resident: City needs more blacks working in urban planning, development

BY MARCUS HAYES Published: August 2, 2014

Oklahoma City has grown handsomely in the past decade. I watch with pride as the city I’ve known as home virtually all of my life blossoms into a city that people desire to relocate to and grow and raise their families.

It’s a constant joy reading about new hotels being constructed. New boulevards being envisioned. Whole new communities and neighborhoods being planned and built. Bricktown is expanding. Midtown is developing. The Wheeler District is making its debut. The Paseo district and the Plaza district continue their respective renaissance.

It’s an exciting time to be in Oklahoma City.

I think about all of the opportunity that exists in our great city, but for some reason (and perhaps this is due to a very complex myriad of things) there aren’t very many, if any, prominent African-American land owners or developers operating in any of these areas experiencing this wonderful growth.

Why is this a problem? Because land and the industry that surrounds development promotes social, economic and political mobility. When it comes to commercial property development and prominent land ownership, there are no role models and mentors wh can pave a road for aspiring blacks who would like to forge a career in that area of business.

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