MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 25, 2008

Mayor outlines vision for city

Change is not coming to Muskogee. Change is here!

That was the message of Mayor John Tyler Hammons’ inaugural state of the city speech presented Thursday in front of a crowd of about 300.

During his speech, Hammons presented a laundry list of the city’s plans and projects, some of which began and were completed during the terms of former mayors Hershel McBride and Wren Stratton.

Hammons, who described the state of the city “strong” and “hopeful,” also laid out some of his ideas and goals he hopes to achieve during his tenure. Included in his wish list was a capital improvements program being assembled to address Muskogee’s infrastructural needs — street and sewer improvements were among the top priorities — and the passage of a countywide enhanced 911 telephone system.

But more than anything, Hammons used his platform Thursday to bolster Muskogee’s image as a destination point for tourists and out-of-town visitors.

“We like it when people come to our city and spend their money,” Hammons said, noting plans for park improvements like the proposed butterfly garden and learning center. “We like that.”

Greater Muskogee Area Chamber of Commerce President Sue Harris, in her introduction of the mayor, said Muskogee is poised to capitalize on its assets as a result of the attention the city has received as a result of Hammons’ youth and his successful mayoral bid.

“We scored a publicity home run,” Harris said about “the buzz” generated by Hammons during this year’s municipal elections and other public appearances he has made since then. “Our young mayor put Muskogee on the map.”

Hammons, making a reference to a Bible verse, downplayed his role in Muskogee’s newfound fame and said it isn’t about him.

“This job is bigger than me — it’s bigger than all of us,” Hammons said. “This is about Muskogee. ... I’m a voice for this city.”

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