South Side a diamond in the rough 

Just a few years ago, St. Anthony Hospital was considering moving from its current Midtown location to a spot in far south Oklahoma City. City and county officials all came to the forefront and rallied around promised Midtown improvements to make sure St. Anthony stayed on N.W. 10th Street.

By the ferocity and rhetoric, you would have thought that St. Anthony was going to move to Ardmore or out of state. However, I believe the fact of the matter is leaders were aghast at considering a move to south Oklahoma City!

This is a symptom of a larger problem, and a problem that has been generations in the making. Even worse, it seems to have permeated into an everlasting cycle that is going to take a fundamental shift of thinking to change. Oklahoma City will be better for it when it does happen, as will the state as a whole.

Did you know one of the highest per-capita-income areas in the state is in ZIP code 73170? And take a guess where that is? Edmond, Nichols Hills, north OKC? Would it shock you to learn that it is southwest Oklahoma City? It shouldn't.

Those who are raised in the South Side have a certain pride " no secret handshake, just an understanding of each other. So how do we fix the image problem of the South Side that is bred into half of the city's population?

As a hard-core conservative, it is almost always my gut instinct to stay away from government for an answer to our problems. However, I think if the leaders of Oklahoma City and the people of the South Side work together to spark the untapped potential, the communities will take it the rest of the way, and private industry will take the lead.

This area of the city is near where Canadian, Oklahoma and Cleveland counties converge. The ideal South Side position means city and county leaders and state legislators could work together to provide an incubator for growth that we have never seen.

There is a tremendous area in southwest Oklahoma County just west of the airport where there are many industrial facilities and the Federal Aviation Administration training center. There is plenty of physical room to grow the aeronautical industry, and with the proximity of Oklahoma City Community College, the raw materials are there for a recipe of private industry expansion.

When the private industry of Oklahoma City grows, it benefits the rest of the state. And if you noticed that there was not a mention of energy or agriculture in this industry growth, it is time to focus on other areas so as to diversify our economy.

An area of our city that has been neglected by city fathers and community leaders is on the verge of unparalleled expansion if we can just get together and light the spark.

We don't need stimulus money for this; we can handle this all on our own.

Loveless is the CEO of Phoenix Consulting and the business manager for Loveless Orthopedic and Custom Footwear.

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