By EMILY RAMSEY
SEEING POTENTIAL: Thomas Moton previously served as interim city manager for the City of Greenville, NC, before becoming Broken Arrow’s city manager Nov. 6. Moton sees his job as a facilitator among city groups and community members. Moton oversees his office staff of five individuals plus 12 city departments. Moton chose to come to Broken Arrow because of its continued growth and the progressive thinking of city leaders and residents.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Thomas Moton, Broken Arrow’s city manager, is entering his new post with his eyes and ears open.
“So much about municipal government is sitting down and discussing what we want to accomplish,” Moton says. “Right now I am in the listening phase: building relationships, clarifying my understanding of what all the various city groups expect.”
Moton stepped into his role as city manager Nov. 6. He oversees five staff members and 12 departments.
He comes to Broken Arrow after serving as assistant city manager and interim city manager in Greenville, N.C. Previously, he served as assistant city manager in University City, Mo., and Corsicana, Texas; assistant dean of the Ellis County Center in Waxahachie, Texas; and management analyst for Dallas County Juvenile Department.
“My career plan was to seek progressively larger communities to gain substantial and broad experience as an assistant city manager and eventually pursue managing a large city,” he says. “Now felt like the right time to take that next step, and Broken Arrow felt like the right place.”
Moton holds a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in public administration both from the University of North Texas. Moton views his government position as a way to give back to society on a community as well as individual level.
“I enjoy meeting with citizens, responding to their concerns and resolving challenges,” he says. “I also enjoy mentoring and cultivating my management team.”
One reason Moton was attracted to Broken Arrow was its continuing growth and downtown development. “I like reviving and redeveloping downtowns so the public sees them as unique, one-of-a-kind experiences. Downtown is the unique identifier of any community.”
As Broken Arrow continues to expand, Moton hopes to unite any differing opinions between community members.
In any growing city, there are always individuals who are focused on keeping the area’s history and heritage while other groups want to move forward and grow the city, he says. “I have found that communities that don’t grow over time tend to languish economically so I like to work with residents and city leaders to find a way where we can have history and heritage with growth.”
Moton would like more festivals and outdoor activities to come to Main Street, including outdoor art features, such as murals, to create a pleasant walking experience. Another focus of his for any downtown is an emphasis on cultural arts.
“In a downtown area, people want to get out of their cars and see interesting storefronts and museums,” he says. In addition to the Broken Arrow Historical Museum, Main Street will soon be home to a military history museum.
A science museum is another eventual addition he would like to see in downtown “so that parents can spend time with their families enriching them with the marvels of the world,” he says.
One city project Moton is anticipating is Rose West Park, a five-acre dog park located at New Orleans (101st Street) and the Creek Turnpike. Moton created the first dog park in University City and also developed one in Greenville. The first phase of construction, including site grading and fencing, will be completed in spring 2013.
“Communities are built through dog parks,” he says. “Friends are made when owners come and socialize. We want those kinds of unique experiences in the community.”
Moton also envisions the new events park near -BA to become a gathering spot for families and community members. The park will feature walking trails and an outdoor amphitheater. Phase II of construction will include a parking lot, waterlines and additional roads and will begin in January.
He cites Broken Arrow’s engaged citizens, active city officials, and reputation for safety and quality living as a solid foundation from which to grow. Broken Arrow’s future is bright, and Moton doesn’t plan to hide it.
“I was drawn to Broken Arrow because it is progressive,” he says. “It has citizens who want to move forward.”