OPINIONS - COLUMNS
WE NEED LONG-TERM PLANS FOR TOWN CENTER
2011-11-11 09:43:14
This year's Spooktacular put more than a few frights in the heart of both parks staff and the public... read more
SMALL BUSINESS NEEDS LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
2011-10-08 16:19:58
The Internet is no longer a child. It is a monster, and one of the biggest welfare cheats out there.... read more
COMMENTARY: "HATE" IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD -- BUT SO IS "LOVE"
2011-09-30 09:30:43
It's never good news when Westboro Baptist Church rolls into town — but you don't need me to tell yo... read more
CANADIAN OFFICIAL PROVED POLITICAL COALITIONS CAN LEAD
2011-08-25 11:00:34
Jack Layton died earlier this week after a grueling battle with cancer. I don't expect the name to b... read more
LACK OF LEADERSHIP KEEPS OKLAHOMA ON THE SIDELINES
2011-08-23 14:53:23
The race for president, especially when it is this early in the cycle, feels like a grown-up game of... read more
MUSTANG FIREFIGHTERS DESERVE OUR THANKS
2011-08-11 09:56:21
My Weber grill has sat eerily silent this summer. May winds kept my outdoor adventures sidelined, an... read more
POLITICAL THEATER WAS PERFECT ... FOR MTV
2011-08-04 11:11:12
Thirty years ago Monday, a cultural phenomenon launched in what was then the upper tier of most peop... read more
NASA'S LIGHT FADES AS LEADERSHIP FAILS
2011-07-14 15:36:32
Most of the national headlines in the last week seem born from either the verdict handed down in a F... read more
SHELTER DECISION NEEDS INPUT, HELP FROM PUBLIC
2011-06-11 11:34:07
How do you face a monster and survive? Living in tornado alley, we d... read more
PAY-AS-YOU-GO PLAN COULD SOLVE BALLFIELD WOES, LAGGING DEVELOPMENT
2011-05-21 13:06:20
The smell should be a punch line to a horrible practical joke. It's not though. It is just another n... read more
JAIL INSPECTION SCORE SHOULD REOPEN DOOR FOR DORMITORY IDEA
2011-05-12 12:25:35
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who tell you it can't be done and those who tell y... read more
ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS FACE CUTS, BUT SHARED SACRIFICE MUST BE RULE
2011-05-07 11:37:37
In August 2008 at the height of emotional debate over health-care reform, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole held a ... read more
JUSTICE WAS DELAYED BUT NOT DENIED IN BIN LADEN’S DEATH
2011-05-05 11:59:35
My 9-year-old daughter has never known a United States that has not been at war. She has not known a... read more
DAVID ANDERSON’S LEADERSHIP REFRESHING CHANGE AT COUNTY
2011-04-09 11:59:11
If you throw a boomerang correctly, the curved one-time weapon will follow an elliptical path and re... read more
TIME FOR CITY, CHAMBER TO PROMOTE MUSTANG FIRST
2011-03-24 12:22:46
City Council member Ben Green never sugar coats his feelings during meetings. Last week, Green told ... read more
STATES MAY ONE DAY ROW DOWN THE BANKRUPTCY RIVER
2011-02-12 10:44:28
The repeated snow storms that swept across Oklahoma in the last two weeks forced me to watch far too... read more
PROPOSED GUN LAWS MAY SIMPLY BACKFIRE
2011-01-29 11:05:48
Guns are on the table at the state Capitol. State Sen. Steve Russell will push hard in the upcoming ... read more
EDUCATION REFORM DOESN’T NEED POPULAR NAVEL-GAZING
2011-01-08 14:17:58
What if all our school testing and moves toward merit pay for teachers are making our schools worse?... read more
DECEMBER BRINGS SPARK OF HOPE
2010-12-24 17:39:09
Two weeks ago, I was out in the back garden digging a hole and crying — as you do. The box contain... read more
ANDERSON’S PLAN MAY WIN SUPPORT BUT THE LONG-TERM COST MAY BE HIGH
2010-12-10 15:55:46
It looks like voters will decide sometime next year whether to pull money away from the Canadian Cou... read more
SANTA’S TOY SHOPPE, CHARITIES OFFER TRUE MEANING OF HOLIDAY
2010-12-08 15:43:44
In the few brief excursions I have forced myself to take into area stores this Christmas season, I h... read more
SALVATION ARMY CONCERNS RAISED AS NEED GROWS IN CITY
2010-11-24 14:48:48
This Thanksgiving, many in our community will give thanks not for the turkey and stuffing they are a... read more
SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION IS A NECESSARY REALITY IN STATE
2010-11-03 12:52:47
I have just one message for those who quake at the idea of school consolidation, fearing their commu... read more
SQ 744 WRONG CHOICE; BUT ANSWERS STILL NEEDED
2010-10-22 13:53:17
Make no mistake — State Question 744 has support. It is backed by many voters in our state who are ... read more
STORIES OF BATTLES WITH DRUG ADDICTIONS RESONATES
2010-10-20 13:46:11
It was hard not to think about the ongoing debate swirling around the Canadian County Juvenile Justi... read more
STATE’S NO. 5 RANKING IN TEEN BIRTH RATE FRIGHTENING
2010-09-23 13:30:12
Oklahoma's teen birth rate is ballooning, and it shows a failure by the state and many families to e... read more
ARMORY’S ECONOMIC IMPACT ON CITY GROWING
2010-09-17 16:12:54
A few weeks remain until the new Armed Forces Reserves Center opens officially here in Mustang and h... read more
RISE OF SUPER CONFERENCES SHOWS MONEY CAN BE CORROSIVE
2010-09-03 12:33:20
As my wife and I left for work Thursday morning, we gave each other an inspirational thought — 10 ho... read more
FLORIDA REFORM NO MIRACLE, BUT SUNSHINE STATE MOVING FORWARD
2010-08-18 14:37:04
Former President George W. Bush stood tall on the “Houston Miracle” in 2000, and it became a rallyin... read more
FALLIN MAY NEED BOOST FROM THE CAMPAIGN BENCH
2010-08-04 11:30
Barry Switzer's endorsement of Jari Askins attracted plenty of attention. The state's largest newspa... read more
SPECIES GOES TO BAT FOR OKLAHOMA FARMERS
2010-07-30 13:15:57
As chairman of the Wildlife Committee in the state House of Representatives, I have had the opportun... read more
COMMISSIONERS ARE FAILING TO EXPLORE REAL OPTIONS FOR JAIL
2010-07-16 15:50:19
Canadian County Dist. 2 Commissioner David Anderson was quoted Thursday in the Daily Oklahoman as sa... read more
I-DOSING LESS ABOUT INTOXICATION AND MORE ABOUT POOR DECISIONS
2010-07-14 15:18:11
The Mustang School District is finding its name being mentioned in some very odd spots lately includ... read more
DECISIONS MUST BE MADE IN STUDENTS’ BEST INTEREST
2010-05-06 09:54:01
A few weeks remain in the state's legislative session, and our lawmakers will soon be back home full... read more
ATTACK WAS ACTIONS OF A KILLER, NOT A PATRIOT
2010-02-24 13:09:58
Andrew Joseph Stack III was not a hero. He was simply a killer. The Austin, Texas, man, last week, f... read more
FISCAL REALITIES OF BUDGET REQUIRES HARD CHOICES BY STATE
2010-02-10 13:46:53
The 2010 legislative session begins with an immediate focus: the budget shortfall. Lawmakers must gr... read more
CITIES ATTEMPT TO ELIMINATE ACCOUNTABILITY
2010-02-10 13:46:53
Little things can make a big difference. Printed public notices in newspapers are little things, but... read more
CONSOLIDATION TALK NEEDS TO BE ABOUT MORE THAN WORDS
2010-02-05 16:09:16
On Monday, Gov. Brad Henry proposed in his State of the State address that Oklahoma could save $5 mi... read more
SCENES AROUND COMMUNITY NOT VERY MERRY FOR MANY
2009-12-23 14:25:54
I have grown accustomed to just walking by, not slowing my gait for a second so I can get back to th... read more
CITY OF MUSTANG WORKING TO LIVEN HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYSCITY OF MUSTANG WORKING TO LIVEN HOLIDAY LIGHT DISPLAYS
2009-12-23 14:16:19
Merry Christmas Mustang. I hope this week finds you with your loved ones, joy in your heart and a ... read more
SCHOOLS READY TO HELP IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES
2009-12-23 14:16:19
During this holiday season, I am reminded of all the blessings that I have. I could not ask for mor... read more
CHRISTMAS SPIRIT LIVES IN ACTS OF COMMUNITY KINDNESS
2009-12-23 14:16:19
Smiles replaced worried looks on the faces of Mustang firefighters last week as residents rallied to... read more
FEAR AND LOATHING NOT SUPERFICIAL AT TOWN HALL
2009-08-27 12:12:15
If someone believes the anger and fear expressed at the town hall meetings across the United States ... read more
WHISPERS AND RUMORS OVER LEADERS’ DEPARTURES A DISSERVICE
2009-07-22 16:52:13
There are a lot of comments going around town about the loss of key leadership in the city. Severa... read more
COCKRELL’S LEGACY AND ADVICE DESERVE REFLECTION WHEN CHOOSING REPLACEMENT
2009-07-09 15:13:53
We need to keep growing. That was the advice of outgoing City Manager David Cockrell last week jus... read more
MAYOR'S CORNER: RECENT RASH OF VANDALISM NO LAUGHING MATTER FOR VICTIMS
2009-05-27 14:33:16
I hope everyone had a good holiday and took time to remember our soldiers. Mustang is very fortun... read more
TRAILER DECISION IS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL ANSWER
2009-04-29 12:59:59
The City Council recently modified an ordinance, which as drafted, will make changes to the number o... read more
DISTRICT FACING ‘HISTORIC’ CHALLENGES
2009-04-15 12:23:13
Nine days after patrons voted overwhelmingly in support of school bond issues totaling an estimated ... read more
EASTER EGGS AND OPPORTUNITIES MARK COMING DAYS FOR CITY
2009-04-02 15:22:38
Next week is exciting for voters as they will determine the future of the Ward 1 City Council post a... read more
WE NEED LONG-TERM PLANS FOR TOWN CENTER
BRETT JONES
Edition:Friday, November 11, 2011

This year's Spooktacular put more than a few frights in the heart of both parks staff and the public when the final bell tolled on the evening's fun.
The event drew so many families that the facility was overwhelmed. Parks officials estimated that 2,000 more event-goers showed up than had ever attended the event before. The estimated crowd topped more than 5,000, filling all of Town Center's main corridors, the gym, classrooms and banquet hall.
Ward 3 Councilman Ben Green questioned city officials last week about how they were going to ease future overcrowding. He said he was worried a dangerous situation was being created by overcrowding at the facility.
Green was right. Spooktacular was victim of its own success, and crowds shuffled along in long lines with little room to move around. If a fire had broken out, I fear children could have been hurt.
Mustang Town Center is a jewel of this city, and with the help of a committed parks staff, it has exceeded community expectations. Town Center was built for a town of 10,000, but the community's population has stretched past 18,000. Parks officials estimate the facility actually serves a regional community in excess of 30,000. That may get some danders up, but remember those people often spend their dollars here, helping grow our sales tax base and reducing residents' overall tax burden over time.
It is time to face the reality that more and more events are outgrowing Town Center, and some events' supporters are taking their business elsewhere.
The Mustang Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet no longer calls Town Center home, and the Daddy-Daughter Dance and Spooktacular are splitting the facility's seams. City staff is reviewing ways to control crowds at the events, including moving parts of the events outside, distributing only a set number of tickets or holding multiple-day events to spread out the crowds. Weather, though, could cause headaches and further complicate a situation that is difficult at best to manage now.
Special events, though, are not the only headaches for Town Center. The exercise area is too small for the daily demand being placed on it, and some facility patrons complain aerobic classes are too large for the rooms they are held in.
Earlier this year, city officials discussed potentially increasing the size of Town Center through a bond issue. No details of the plan have been released, nor is it known if the plan is moving forward. But in previous conversations, city officials discussed a need for increase the size of the library. There is no doubt that is needed as well as a boost in the size of the city's book and resource collection.
Along with the library, city officials need to develop a more detailed plan for growing Town Center and better utilizing existing space. Department heads who deal with these issues every day need to be part of the discussion as well as the public if the Council has any hope of building trust with the voters.
Town Center is a part of the heart of this community, but it is one that also must be maintained and allowed to keep pace with customers' needs. Failure to do so could hurt the long-term health of what has become the virtual downtown of the community.

Jones is general manager and editor of the Mustang News.

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