I’m not going to get into the debate over the pending relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics to Ford Center. But you’ve got to wonder if J.A. Adande at ESPN has ever stepped foot in Oklahoma City when he suggests at the end of this video that it doesn’t have enough hotel rooms to be home to an NBA team.
Say what? I didn’t see anyone resorting to using sleeping bags outside Ford Center on nights when it hosted Hornets home games. For what it’s worth, by 2009 downtown alone will have nine hotels with more than 2,000 rooms. And along I-40 and Meridan Avenue, about 10 minutes west of Ford Center, there’s another 4,000 rooms.
I also don’t recall any major complaints about room availability during recent sold-out Big 12 basketball and NCAA games.
Oklahoma City has taken a lot of hits in this debate – “dust bowl,” etc. – but it’s difficult to understand how this comment has any connection to reality.
- Thanks to OKCTALK for bringing this to light
A couple of weeks ago I posted the following question at www.okctalk.com: what are the worst downtown eyesores?
Here’s the list they compiled:
Old Downtown Library
Former Stewart Metal buildings
304 NE 3 (Deep Deuce)
Former Fox Collission Building
Bob Howard Ford
Union Bus Station
First National Arcade
Garage at Kerr and Harvey
Park Harvey Building
Former nightclub at Main and Walker
Goodyear Tire store
Bricktown Parking Garage
U-Haul building in Bricktown
So, what’s next? I’ve got a camera, and I’m preparing to take some photos of these “eyesores.” Then I’ll provide details on some of these properties, followed by a poll here at www.okccentral.com. The more of you who vote in this poll, the more likely it is you might nudge someone to make some improvements. Now, quiz time friends… which one of these “eyesores” is the only Oklahoma City property to win one of the highest architectural honors possible? Which property was deemed one of the city’s most significant architectural landmarks by a panel of architects and preservationists? Which building is owned by dedicated urban pioneers who have led in their district’s revival? And which building is closest to becoming history?
Olympic Rowers are coming to the river… here’s a video of the 2007 Centennial Regatta that provides just a glimpse of what’s it’s like along this former eyesore. (Yes, I’ve figured out how to include videos on this blog – more fun to follow).
I just learned that Raw (a club that faced the Bricktown Canal just west of Hooters) has closed. And don’t be surprised if another “third tier” club closes in the near future. So what do I mean by third tier anyway? Well, it’s a judgment call really, but basically it’s an operation that never drew people to Bricktown, but really tried to rely on people coming in who were already in the district. These clubs will soon be forgotten and relegated to a list that includes Wild Coconut, Bar, Banana Joes, Rain, Studio 310, Marguarita Mama’s and countless more.
I’ve heard the story before, but I never saw anything that indicated it was anything more than an urban legend. But a discussion underway at www.tulsanow.org included a link to the following story at the San Francisco Chronicle:
San Francisco welfare officials struck an agreement Friday with their counterparts in Humboldt County to reassure them that the city isn’t dumping homeless people in the woodsy, far-northern county — resolving a spat that kicked up this week after Humboldt learned San Francisco had sent 13 homeless people there on one-way bus tickets over the past year.
From now on, the city will inform Humboldt whenever it sends homeless people over its borders through the Homeward Bound program, in which city counselors and police outreach workers give street people one-way tickets home as long as there are family or friends willing to help them on the other end, San Francisco officials said.
Humboldt officials, after reading of the program in The Chronicle, had asked the city last month to tell them how many homeless people were sent to their borders — and then hit the roof after learning this week that the number was 13.
It was the first serious criticism of the bus program since it was created one year ago. On Thursday, city Human Services Director Trent Rhorer got a letter from the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors complaining that the city is sticking the Humboldt area with its problems and dubbing Homeward Bound warmed-over “Greyhound Therapy.”
To read the rest of the story, go here.
That’s the question posed in today’s front page story by Bryan Dean. The Land Run Monument is one of the many projects launched by the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. At issue is whether the final count will be 45 or 38 pieces when the monument is completed.
In case you missed it, I had two stories Sunday. One examined the role Tulsa might play in Oklahoma City becoming a major league market. The other is a fun interview with Meg Salyer, who is widely hailed as a visionary who helped make Automobile Alley what it is today.
As a sidenote, an interesting story appears in today’s Tulsa World about a notable downtown landmark facing an uncertain future. Downtown Oklahoma City once had similar “challenges.” I do not know of any downtown Oklahoma City property owners who currently have left their buildings abandoned. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the worst case scenario for downtown Oklahoma City, especially in the central business district, is simply one of owners slow to do what is needed to make their properties viable again.
I just had a good conversation with Mayor Mick Cornett and he has answered all the remaining questions. Look for his responses in Tuesday’s Main Street column.
Last night was rather interesting. As promised, Mayor Mick Cornett appeared at the monthly meeting of Urban Neighbors and answered questions that had been submitted in advance by the group’s members.
I’m not sure I’ve heard such a strong stance before from the mayor concerning light rail – but he’s suggesting he will push for it to be included in a MAPS 3. Of course, we also now know we might not see a MAPS 3 until at least 2010. Cornett seems to have little interest in creating the sort of light rail that would stretch out to Edmond, Norman and Midwest City – at least not without those towns paying for luch a link. His vision, as expressed last night, calls for a downtown circulator and one that would serve tourists.
Some questions I suggested in Tuesday’s column went unasked. I’m listing them below and I’m emailing them to the mayor’s aide, David Holt, to see if Mayor Cornett might be interested in answering them anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Here are the questions:
- If the Bricktown Canal is considered one of the most photographed areas of the city, why the delay replacing trees lost in the recent ice storms? Can’t MAPS maintenance funds be used to bring back the greenery?
- Are you aware of the buildings in MidTown and Bricktown that have had broken windows for years, and if so, aren’t these properties in violation of the city’s code ordinances?
- What is the timetable for moving the city’s detox center, which is surrounded by condominiums and apartments in Deep Deuce?
- Civic leaders often point to the Santa Fe Parking Garage as a good alternative to parking in Bricktown. But do you think the lighting and pedestrian access along E.K. Gaylord Boulevard is inviting to such use?
- If given a choice between the building designs in Lower Bricktown and those used in Edmond’s Spring Creek shopping center, which do you think stands out as superior architecture?
- In light of Devon Energy planning to build a new corporate headquarters downtown, do you have a favorite skyscraper you would love to see mimicked in Oklahoma City?
- How difficult is the task ahead for a full revival of fortunes at First National Center?
- If you could live at one of the new downtown housing projects, which one would you choose?
- If parking isn’t a big problem downtown, where do you park when going to Bricktown on a busy night?
Central Avenue Villas
Bricktown Hampton Inn
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum will open Reporting Terrorism, a multimedia look behind the camera and in the newsroom at what it takes to report in a crisis, April 14. This special exhibit was created by the Memorial and will be on display April 14 – December 31, 2008.
When terrorism strikes, people around the world turn to the media for information. Journalists play many roles in bringing breaking news, serving local needs and telling the courageous stories of those most affected. April 19, 1995, in Oklahoma City, was the tipping point in a new era of news coverage.
“This exhibit came out of conversations and reflections from journalists who worked the Oklahoma City bombing,” said Kari Watkins, Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Executive Director. “The impact of media coverage of terrorist acts affects victims, survivors and the general public. Reporters walk a fine line in providing full and unbiased coverage without compromising national security or inciting fear among the public.”
Reporting Terrorism takes visitors into the newsroom following the Oklahoma City bombing to help them understand the challenges of covering an event unprecedented in American history. Further insight into how media has evolved since 9/11 and beyond and a look into the continued transformation of how acts of terrorism are covered and conveyed to audiences are also highlighted in this special exhibit.
Interviews with local and national journalists who covered the Oklahoma City bombing show the effect this event had on both their immediate and ongoing news coverage as well as the personal toll it took on many.
“There was no way to grasp the scale of it because we hadn’t seen anything like it before,” said former Oklahoma City reporter/anchor Devin Scillian. “It was the psychological chaos in the newsroom because it is our job to have a handle on perspective, and it is our job to put things in context. How in the world could we put this thing without context into context?”
An interactive kiosk places visitors at the editor’s desk, asking them to choose the image that best tells the story of April 19, 1995, for the front page of the paper. Throughout the exhibit, thought-provoking questions about the ethical and editorial implications of decisions made by journalists help visitors gain a better understanding of the dilemmas faced daily by media around the world who now cover terrorism on a daily basis.
The exhibit begins with the news reports of the Oklahoma City bombing and walks visitors through the news coverage of some of the worst acts of terrorism around the world. Artifacts, including cameras, reporters’ notebooks, letters to the media from Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the helmet ABC anchor Bob Woodruff was wearing when he was critically injured covering the War on Terror in Iraq, give visitors tangible insight into what it takes to report acts of terrorism.
As visitors leave, they grab a special edition newspaper with tips, perspectives and lessons learned, told by journalists from around the country.
Reporting Terrorism will be on display at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum April 14 – December 31, 2008. The exhibit was made possible through the generous support of Devon Energy Corporation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Cox Communications and OPUBCO Communications Group. Special thanks goes to KFOR Oklahoma’s NewsChannel 4, KOCO Eyewitness News 5, KWTV News 9, The Skirvin Hilton, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma Gazette, Tulsa World, The Journal Record and Southwestern Stationery and Bank Supply, Inc.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was created to honor those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected.
The Outdoor Symbolic Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free of charge. The Memorial Museum is open Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday, 1-6p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and $6 for students (5-college with valid ID). Children under 5 are admitted free. Group rates and programs are available. Special exhibits are included in the cost of admission. Ticket sales end at 5 p.m. daily. The Museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
For more information on the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, call (888) 542-HOPE or visit www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org.
SIDENOTE: For what it’s worth, items on exhibit will include the world’s biggest cell phone (at least it seems that way) and a beaten up police scanner – tools of the trade I used on that horrible, horrible day. I worked the police beat for five years leading up to the bombing. After that day, I no longer had the ability to cover violence as I once had and it didn’t take long for me to press my editors to assign me to a different beat. Some of the finest journalists could be seen at their best that day (and some poor excuses for national reporters – I’d call them performers – were also present by that evening).