It likely ranks as one of Broken Arrow’s most “invisible” community service organizations – invisible, that is, until the city or school district comes up with a bond issue proposal and needs a helping hand in getting voters to approve it.
That’s when the Build A Better Broken Arrow Committee, an organization created in 1991 by local attorney and civic leader Russell Peterson, comes alive. Its mission is both simple and straight-forward: “support efforts to bring the best infrastructure, services, and amenities to our city and make it thrive.”
This year, the not-for-profit organization is being led by Peterson as president, Air Assurance Vice President/Owner David Rampey as vice president, retired educator Hazel Koehler as treasurer and newspaper editor Bob Lewis as secretary.
Peterson notes that by law, city and school officials cannot ask citizens to vote yes on any bond package. All they can do is present information to help voters make an informed decision.
“That’s where we come in,” he said. “As concerned citizens we have every right to endorse these measures and urge our friends and neighbors to do the same. That’s exactly what we are here to do.”
None of that means the organization is a rubber stamp. In fact, it feels one of its most important responsibilities involves analyzing all aspects of proposed bond packages and suggesting modifications if it thinks they are necessary.
It is a formula that has proven to be highly effective.
Its most recent success involved helping shape and promote the largest general obligation bond issue in the city’s history — a $210 million package designed to help fuel community growth for the next 10-plus years.
Since 1991, Broken Arrow has grown from a community with 60,539 residents into the state’s fourth largest city with a population in excess of 108,300 people. It is the millions of dollars made available by passage of periodic bond issues that have allowed education and city leaders to stay ahead of the physical needs of this rapid expansion.
“Our goal is to help keep this momentum going,” Peterson said..