The resignations continue following a …
Wait a minute. What is it exactly that the City Attorney’s office did anyway? They don’t issue rulings, do they? They’re not law makers. They … provide advice to the city manager and city council and represent them in court matters.
Hmmm …. think about that for a second.
OK, let’s continue. Anyway, the Oklahoma City attorney’s office came to the conclusion that a law not enforced in years, if not decades, suddenly demanded strict adherence. The gist was this: people who sit on city boards, commissions and committees could not have contracts with the city. Why? Well, I’m still not clear about this because I don’t know how architect Anthony McDermid and his firm designing a fire station presents any conflict of interest with him sitting on the Downtown Design Review Committee. But he was contacted by the city and told he had to choose one or the other. McDermid resigned.
Interestingly enough, the city attorney’s office had no qualms with another committee member voting on designs for a project that came from an organization on which he sits on its board.
Anyway, the resignations stemming from this legal advice continues. Veteran Bricktown architect Tom Wilson resigned from the Bricktown Urban Design Committee due to the same issue. And I hear more resignations are to follow.
One has to wonder if all of the strides made by the urban design committees this past year are at risk if this goes on much longer.
St. Anthony Hospital is dedicating its new Devon Energy Plaza – and a pretty impressive sculpture – at 10 a.m. Friday. At 11 a.m., the folks at the Skirvin Hilton are celebrating the landmark’s 97th birthday with a visit by several Thunder NBA dance team members.
Uncommon Grounds, Bricktown. Far better coffee than what’s available in the newsroom, and on an average day I see at least 3-4 contacts come through the doors, often with good story tips. In my 18 years at The Oklahoman, I’ve yet to see news actually occur in the newsroom.
I have everything I need – a computer, a good wireless connection, phone and an ample supply of caffeine.
Sorry for the lack of posting this week. Everything is moving pretty fast, and I’m spending a lot of time keeping up with changes – changes in who’s doing what downtown, changes in what’s happening next development wise, and in case you’ve not seen the ads, some big changes coming to The Oklahoman.
I’m fortunate to have you, the readers of this blog. It’s easy to brag on you – I learn as much from you and your posting on this site as you do from anything I might add on a daily basis.
So what changes are ahead? Once upon a time, downtown was content with simply trying to attract more people. I recall a time when the announcement of any new housing or hotels downtown was a really, really big deal. I’m certain a decade ago the Embassy Suites announced for the Oklahoma Health Center could likely have been front page news. But now, it’s one of several downtown hotel projects in the works – and dare we say, something we simply expect?
The same goes for housing.
So our expectations have changed. Core to Shore is clearly moving from just being another plan to a fairly ambitious endeavor to be implemented, using eminent domain, if necessary.
Keep an eye out on who’s running things downtown. The Greater OKC Chamber is still looking at having Downtown OKC Inc. become a tenant in its new headquarters. That doesn’t sit well with some downtown property owners I’ve visited with, and yet, with no president at the helm, is this the time when the organization will lose its independence?
At the same time, the Bricktown Association is continuing to evolve under the leadership of Jim Cowan – and it’s clearly moving away from the days of fighting over beer and soft drink sponsorships and who might get to sell turkey legs at a street festival. These days, the association is delving into the world of how best to attract more retail, spur development and dare I suggest, make parking a pleasant part of a visitor’s experience.
The Bricktown Association is growing up to be like the much quieter and sophisticated Automobile Alley Association (sometime soon, I really must shine a light on these folks and their accomplishments).
And then we move onto MidTown. What’s next now that Greg Banta is gone? We still don’t know. We also still don’t know how the new Devon Tower will reconfigure the Central Business District, though some hints of the future are beginning to emerge.
Finally, what will my coverage of all this look like in a few months? I don’t know. Stories will be written differently. I’ve experimented with the new story formats in recent weeks with my coverage of Shepherd Mall and Coyote Ugly. Online videos will be more and more commonplace. And this blog – which was the most read of the NewsOk blogs this past month – will apparently become a bigger part of my coverage of downtown.
So yeah, forgive me for my infrequent posting this week. I’ve been slightly distracted.
OK, coffee talk time: should Oklahoma City approach Core to Shore as it did downtown in the 1960s – acquire the entire area, clear it and start again? Or is a more nuianced approach called for? Or should it leave the area’s fate to private developers and land owners?
Cities Rethink 50s Era Parking Policies
WASHINGTON — Alice and Jeff Speck didn’t have a car and didn’t want one. But District of Columbia zoning regulations required them to carve out a place to park one at the house they were building.
It would have eaten up precious space on their odd-shaped lot and marred the aesthetics of their neighborhood, dominated by historic row houses. The Specks succeeded in getting a waiver, even though it took nine months.
Like nearly all U.S. cities, D.C. has requirements for off-street parking. Whenever anything new is built — be it a single-family home, an apartment building, a store or a doctor’s office — a minimum number of parking spaces must be included. The spots at the curb don’t count: These must be in a garage, a surface lot or a driveway.
D.C. is now considering scrapping those requirements — part of a growing national trend. Officials hope that offering the freedom to forgo parking will lead to denser, more walkable, transit-friendly development.
Read the whole story here.
Office plan overcomes concerns
2008-09-19 –Plans for a new Greater Oklahoma City Chamber headquarters were approved unanimously Thursday by the Downtown Design Review Committee despite concerns expressed by a handful of civic leaders that the project is a bad…
Oklahoma commission approves plans for hotel
2008-09-18 –Downtown’s hotel room count continues to climb — this time with the planned addition of a 196-room Embassy Suites hotel in the Oklahoma Health Center. The eight-story hotel is being developed by Bob Howard, Mickey…
Made in Oklahoma: The Prairie Gypsies
2008-09-17 –• Address: 415 NW 30. • Web site: www.prairiegypsies.com . • Founded: 1994. • Employees: Five full-time, “several” part-time, and “lots of friends and family.” • Key personnel: Debbie Leland and…
Questions and Answers with David Streb
New I-40 Crosstown Expressway will bring value to city
2008-09-17 – Q : It appears as if more money soon will be flowing into the depleted highway trust fund. But what sort of ripples will be felt in the highway construction industry if these funding shortfalls continue in the…
Embassy Suites concept approved
2008-09-17 –The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority today approved conceptual plans for an eight-story, 196-room Embassy Suites to be built in the Oklahoma Health Center. The proposed site at NE 8 and Phillips Avenue was…
Focus on design: Architectural photographer zooms in on some of Oklahoma’s buildings
2008-09-17 –He might be 97, but Julius Shulman still has the mischievous smile of a 20-something photographer scoping out his next big shot. And during a recent visit to Oklahoma City, the legendary architectural photographer…
Oklahoma City planner objects to chamber building plan
2008-09-17 –A staff report issued this week to the Downtown Design Review Committee recommends they deny approval of renderings for a proposed new headquarters for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. The report, authored by…
Economy slows downtown growth plans
2008-09-16 –The shaky national economy has in some cases slowed but not stopped development downtown. Certainly, the banking crisis is being felt. One major Oklahoma bank was quietly looking at opening new offices downtown and…
Something as ugly as a coyote. Read Saturday’s Oklahoman.
For more event listings, go to www.wimgo.com.
September 19, 2008 | Red Pin Bowling Alley
$4.00 per game from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. $5.25 per game after 5:00 p.m. Shoe rental $2.50 Socks are required and can be purchased for $2 At peak times, we…
Happens: daily until December 31
September 19, 2008 | The Biting Sow
Live blues music. For more on live music search wimgo.com
September 19, 2008 | 8:00 PM | Nonna’s Euro-American Ristorante and Bar
Stave Duo, 8 p.m. Sept. 19 at Nonn’s Purple Bar, 235-4410.
September 19, 2008 | 5:30 PM | Untitled [Artspace]
Cynthia Holmes will show prints and talk about the printmaking process. For more events search wimgo.com
September 19, 2008 | Oklahoma City Museum of Art
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art will be one of only three U.S. venues for Roman Art from the Louvre, an exhibition of original works from the Musée du Louvre in…
Happens: Tuesdays through Sundays until October 12
September 19, 2008 | 9:30 PM | Wormy Dog Saloon
Roger Creager will perform live at the Wormy Dog. For more than a decade, Roger Creager built a reputation on his distinctive brand of hard-core, rabble-rousing…
September 19, 2008 | 10:00 PM | Red Piano Lounge
Rick Toops, 10 p.m., Red Piano Lounge, 272-3040.