J. David Chapman

J. David Chapman

Ward 1 Edmond City Council candidate J. David Chapman wants to provide the amenities in Edmond to keep young people from moving away as adults.

“Keep that talent,” said Chapman, an associate professor of real estate and finance at the University of Central Oklahoma.

“We’re having success. We need to take it to the next level,” Chapman said.

Chapman is among five candidates vying for Ward 1 city council. His name will be on the February primary election ballot with Clay Booth, 59; Devyn Denton, 41; Jim Martin, 76; and Scott Tohlen, 32.

A primary election is Tuesday, Feb. 12. The general election for city council will be Tuesday, April 2.

Chapman and his wife, Julie, moved to the east side of Edmond 25 years ago. He owned a large information technology company. They raised a son and a daughter.

Five years ago, Chapman had sold his business and had done a lot of CEO coaching. He used the money he made from selling his IT business for entering the real estate field, he said.

He earned a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Study at Oklahoma State University to obtain a tenured position at UCO. His real estate studies were at the University of Denver.

Chapman had a decision to make. He was lecturing around the country about new urbanist concepts involving place making, walkability and transit. Then he would go home to his suburban neighborhood, feeling he wasn’t “walking the talk.”

The Chapmans wanted to build a home where they could walk and be less reliant on a car. He wanted to help build the community. So Chapman built an urban home at 325 N. Broadway in downtown Edmond.

“I just made a decision at that time that I’m going to make it what I want it to be,” he said. “I bought the corner (northwest corner) of Hurd and Broadway, and brought Katiebugs down there.”

Soon after that the Zahrai family built Campbell Corner nearby at the southeast corner of Campbell and Broadway.

“There started to be a vibe change about that time,” Chapman said. “I said, ‘I can build a home here.’”

The city began discussing building a Quiet Zone to alleviate noise from passing trains. The project remains in limbo as the city council awaits data from BNSF railroad.

Trustworthy people were investing their money downtown, he continued.

He had been attending the Urban Board every month as a spectator and wanted his children to choose Edmond for the community where they would live as adults.

Chapman said the city council has done a great job in making the city a dynamic place to live.

“I don’t have any beef with that,” he said. “It’s not like I’m running because I’m mad. I’m running because I’m glad — because I want to continue on what we’ve got going here.”

LEGACY OF DEVELOPMENT

The city council needs to make sure it listens to the citizens of Edmond, he said. Urban planning is what he teaches and it is his forte.

Some of the complaint and issues expressed by residents at the city council are indicative of a city that will not be able to develop if issues are not compatible with lifestyle, he said.

“It has to add to their lifestyle. That’s what we’ve got to figure out,” Chapman noted. And one of them is traffic. They spoke very clear to us.”

Communities need to be walkable, he said. If amenities are put in the right places, fewer people will be driving across town to a restaurant, workout center or pub, he said.

“So what you do is put urban fabric hubs around to help you build community,” he said. “We have a great example here. The problem is we don’t have many rooftops (downtown). I need neighbors. And so this is a good place for density down here because it’s walkable.”

Smart development is not done at any cost. It must be done correctly with impact studies, be sustainable and have minimal impact on the environment, he said.

“Those are the kind of things that are important to me,” he said.