NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:
As a resident of Norman for nearly 50 years and a business owner for 35 years, I have watched our community grow, expand and adapt into a thriving city full of activities for our citizens, visiting families and friends, tourists, and university students.
It is with pride that I tell people about our incredible museums, vital arts organizations and fine arts programming, great parks and recreational facilities, strong social service organizations committed to serving those in need of assistance, and our constant work to provide a city where the term “quality of life” is more than just words.
Telling the story of Norman to potential visitors and newcomers, expanding our parks system and maintaining the strength and scope of the arts in Norman have all been supported through the Norman Transient Guest Room Tax. My personal journey has been enhanced by involvement in the arts in Norman.
I have watched young people performing in community productions on their way to appearing on university stages and ultimately on Broadway, all because of the support of grants made possible by the taxes generated from our visitors to Norman.
With the support of the guest room tax for the past several years, we have experienced many forms of visual and performing arts by local talent alongside nationally and internationally recognized performers.
The arts have been a key player in the renewal of downtown Norman and the awareness of the reputation of Norman's support of jazz, opera, ballet/dance, cultural festivals, public art, art galleries, and arts education.
During this last month, I have spent money at local businesses to purchase dinner before attending an art opening, have dry cleaning done for clothes to wear to special arts events, buy office supplies for a volunteer project for a not-for-profit arts group and provide items needed for a fundraising event for the arts.
Let's talk about the economic impact of the arts in Norman! There are thousands of people spending this kind of money in support of the arts. This spending, coupled with the arts portion of the guest room tax, all combine to provide Norman with some of the finest arts events in the state of Oklahoma.
At this point, if you need to ask, I am in support of the increase of the hotel/motel tax! Please be sure to vote on April 2, 2013. Show your support of the parks, tourism and arts by voting for the proposed increase.
LARRY P. WALKER