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City Leaders Prioritize Projects In Norman Forward Plan

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NORMAN, Oklahoma -

Voters in Norman approved a half-cent sales tax increase to raise $150 million for a citywide face lift. Tuesday night, Norman City Council members set to work deciding what to do first.

The half-cent sales tax increase goes into effect January 1 and will last for the next 15 years. City leaders tonight say they are anxious to begin the citywide upgrades.

10/13/2015 Related Story: Norman Half-Cent Sales Tax Passes

It'll feel like nearly every corner in the city will soon see improvements.

“Every ward in the City of Norman will be touched in some way,” Norman city attorney Jeff Bryant said.

From roads, to libraries, to athletic facilities. Norman Forward will fund updates to  more than 50 parks across the city. This is where city leaders say you'll see the first upgrades, like Ruby Grant Park.

“I think that's one of our priorities that we'll be going forward with because we own the property and that'll be something we'll want to finance early on,” Norman mayor Cindy Rosenthal said.

While several projects are ready to move forward others still need more discussion and planning.

As part of the Norman Forward project, voters approved the creation of a new senior citizen center, but there is one big issue that stands in the way.

“We don't have a site. We have one alternative and use the old library totally gut it  and turn it into a modern facility,” Rosenthal said.

But some residents believe the city should create a new building.

One proposed site was Andrews Park.

Rosenthal said residents are excited and ready to be involved in the city wide face lift.

“I think we made a lot of progress tonight. We are committed to a robust public input into the process and we are excited to see these projects come out of the ground,” Rosenthal said.

Again that sales tax increase starts in January but the city won't receive its first check from the tax commission until March.

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