September 2009 Archive

Daily Links

September 29th, 2009
  • "If we want to be in the convention business nationally, in Nashville downtown, we've got to build a new facility," said Starks.

    Strategic planner Allen Hovious is part of a grassroots organization questioning whether now is the time for Nashville to spend so much on a convention center.

    The group calls itself Nashville's Priorities. They've launched a website with information about what $1 billion would buy, and with lessons from other city's convention centers.

    "These convention centers are not paying off as projected in all the studies including the studies that Nashville is using," said Hovious.

    Even critics agree something needs to be done about the current center. Nashville's Priorities questioned whether Metro could simply add on to the center.

    A 2004 study lists two possible expansion options. A North Option which would cost $181 million and require relocating the McKendree Family Life Center. A South Expansion Option would cost $202 million…

  • Projects to be funded by proposed MAPS 3 sales tax revenue are only identified as city "capital improvements” in the ballot. Specifics of the $777 million MAPS 3 proposal aren’t listed on the ballot.

    The description differs from what voters saw on the original MAPS ballot in 1993, which listed each individual project that was to be funded.

    A resolution of intent council members are also expected to approve today states that funds from the proposed penny sales tax extension would be used only for projects in the MAPS 3 proposal.

    Resolutions of intent are non-binding. They can be overturned by a city council vote.

Daily Links

September 28th, 2009

OETA Core to Shore Feature3

September 25th, 2009

Just took the time to watch this OETA video on Core to Shore all the way through.  Great production with a lot of people I respect and admire – basically every voice you hear speaking.  Gets you excited about the possibilities for the future of Oklahoma City!   There are still a number of details that need to be worked out with the Core to Shore plan and some “interesting” premises that need prodding, but we can save those conversations for 2010 following the passing of MAPS3 and a lovely Christmas holiday with the family.  Enjoy!

Picture 6

Click above image to go to the OETA site to watch video.

(via lasomeday at okctalk)

Daily Links

September 25th, 2009
  • On a sun-speckled afternoon in late August New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is in Times Square, expounding on the delights of a 2.5-acre pedestrian plaza she created three months ago. It displaces the 53,000 cars that crawled through the area daily with a strangely calm oasis where 356,000 people traipse beneath flashing billboards and jumbotrons.
  • Nearly 180 years ago, President Andrew Jackson handed a letter to a military officer with a message for two American Indian tribes: Leave Mississippi and Alabama, or else.

    His direct language was the start of federal efforts that led to the forced relocation of five tribes and the infamous "Trail of Tears," as thousands of Indians died from starvation, exposure, and disease.

    But historians have always had to depend on a draft of Jackson's message — not the final copy carried by Maj. David Haley to Choctaw and Chicasaw leaders. It was believed lost to history.

    Until now.

Daily Links

September 23rd, 2009
  • The public opinion poll, conducted by Shapard Research just prior to Cornett's announcement, found a slight majority favors extending the 1-cent sales tax which has been used to fund several city projects; almost everyone surveyed knew little to nothing about the proposal; three of the proposed projects have marginal support; and support is waning with each successive extension.
  • OKLAHOMA CITY — It comes with a huge $777 million price tag. Today, one Oklahoma City councilman says a he opposes the proposed MAPS 3 plan. He'll vote against it the first chance he gets. The plan would extend a one cent sales tax to fund a new central park, along with a new convention center, a downtown street car system and much more.

    Councilman Brian Walters says given the city's current budget woes and the ongoing recession, he doesn't think it's a good time to fund such a huge project.

    "I just don't think it's appropriate to look at $777 million in stuff, that's not necessary at this point," says Brian Walters.

    Councilman Walters appears to be in the minority on this issue. Every other member of the city council has said they plan to vote yes on the plan.

    If the council passes MAPS 3, a special election would be set for early December where voters would have the final say.

Quote of the Week

September 22nd, 2009

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Daily Links

September 21st, 2009
  • The centerpiece of the MAPS 3 proposal is a $280 million convention center that will include exhibit halls, meeting rooms, ballrooms and parking. The new center, which would be built alongside a proposed 70-acre, $130 million downtown park, would replace the Cox Business Services Convention Center that was renovated as part of the original MAPS.

    Cornett said the current convention center is "inadequate" to compete with those in neighboring cities and states for the lucrative convention business.

    But including such an expensive project that most voters likely would rarely use could spell doom for the MAPS 3 initiative, said Stuart Jolly, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter for Americans for Prosperity, a group that advocates limited government and lower taxes.

    "Do we really want and need a new convention center?" Jolly said. "The one we have now has never been filled to capacity, it's not continuously booked and it's subsidized by the city to the tune of $2 million a year.

Daily Links

September 19th, 2009
  • Arguably the weakest of the components is the priciest: the new convention center, guesstimated at $280 million of the $777 million package, and, I’d bet, probably the highest priority of Movers & Shakers, Ltd., since they’d get to show it off to other guys in suits. It is true that the existing Cox Center is forty years old; it is also true that $60 million from the original MAPS package was spent on sprucing it up for its thirties. What’s yet to be determined is whether there will be any convention business left once this thing is built: if Washington manages to sucker the public into some sort of hyperexpensive yet ineffectual response to sunspots, fercrissake, nobody will be going anywhere anyway.

    On the other hand, $40 million will buy fifty-seven miles of trail, which is a good thing, since the city’s Master Plan for trails called for more than 200 miles, and they’re a long way from finishing up.

  • I love and admire my city of birth, OKC, but I have to admit it is very unlikely that a more or less comprehensive urban fabric will develop here in my lifetime. I am with many who have such hope for our city's center, and I too have had dreams of wind-powered trolleys, world-class dining from the most posh to the most funky and cheap, Farmer's Markets ripe with our great produce, fashion and art innovation happening at studios and boutiques all about our town, being able to walk or ride a bike to most errands and workplaces, having local grocers and cafes and hardware shops in each neighborhood, enjoying the diversity of Capitol Hill, the Asian District, NE 23rd street, etc. via connective transit, and even rail and bus transit, tying our city together in lovely ways, and freeing us from a long-incubated shackling to our cars. And glory be if we have a frequent, and fast rail connection from Will Rogers Airport to downtown!

MAPS 3 Press Conference

September 19th, 2009

Mayor and Council announce MAPS 3 proposal

September 17th, 2009

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and members of the Oklahoma City Council today announced plans for a MAPS 3 proposal that is expected to be considered by the citizens of Oklahoma City on December 8.

The ordinance calling for the election will be introduced at the September 22nd City Council meeting and considered at the September 29th meeting.

The initiative proposes a diverse list of eight projects:

  • A new, approximately 70-acre central park linking the core of downtown with the Oklahoma River
  • A new rail-based streetcar system, plus potential funding for other rail transit initiatives, such as commuter lines and a transit hub
  • A new downtown convention center
  • Sidewalks to be placed on major streets and near facilities used by the public throughout the City
  • 57 miles of new public bicycling and walking trails throughout the City
  • Improvements to the Oklahoma River, including a public whitewater kayaking facility and upgrades intended to achieve the finest rowing racecourse in the world
  • State-of-the-art health and wellness aquatic centers throughout the City designed for senior citizens
  • Improvements to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds