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July 16, 2002

Oklahoma City has its MAPS projects to brag about, but Perry can point with pride to its multi-faceted 2000 Water Project, something that will serve the needs of this city for the foreseeable future. Water is a basic requirement for every living thing. Without the assurance of a supply of that precious commodity to meet this community’s needs, there could be no possibility of growth. Congratulations to Mayor Rolling, the city council and everyone else who had a hand in drawing up this important project to make certain that Perry does have a future.

Years ago, one of the younger members of our family listened intently as we drove down one of Perry’s main streets during a discussion of Perry’s obvious assets, all of them critically needed to move the city forward. “But I don’t want Perry to get bigger,” our beloved youngster protested. “I like it better as a small town.” We didn’t do a very good job of reassuring her that we had no illusions that Perry would ever rival Oklahoma City in size, or even Stillwater, for that matter. Besides, I agree with that child’s point. Perry doesn’t need to be a big city, or even a large small city, if there is such a thing. Stillwater, for example, has crossed the line and is now experiencing some of the growing pains that afflicted Edmond for several years. Perry doen’t need to be THAT big. Let’s just be sure there’s enough water to drink and sustain the life of our population, whatever level that figure reaches.

Many other good things going on around town. The KFC store at Seventh and Fir is being refurbished with a new exterior façade, and the Rose Petal store has moved from the north side of the square to the north half of the old J.C. Penney Co. location on the east side. Their new window display is very attractive. Jay Williams has transformed his Sport Shak storefront into an inviting new all-glass façade. Perry’s Main Street is helping behind the scenes with many other projects around town in hopes that something of the Victorian architectural style in the downtown area is preserved as a reminder of our heritage. I also see that our city’s brand-new Perry Information Network on cable channel 19 is now on the air with no advertising (and no background musical clatter) but straight facts about local happenings. The studio and offices are located in the upper story of the Foucart building, which also houses the Perry Chamber of Commerce, Perry Development Coalition and Perry Main Street headquarters.

In the past few days, some friends who know how much I enjoy old Perry newspapers have brought me generous loads of some issues dating back to the 1920s. I am still in the process of scanning them but you can expect to hear more about them as time goes by. Those old newspaper stories give us a unique glimpse of life in Perry decades ago.