Today’s first Downtown OKC 2020 guest blogger is Casey Cornett. I’ve asked more than two dozen people to participate in this experiment. One cannot avoid notice that Casey does share the mayor’s last name, and yes, he is his son. But Casey is someone who truly lives, works and plays downtown.
And his blog is a good daily read – and provides a glimpse of what’s it like to be young and full of hope for what’s to come downtown. And like his dad, no matter whether you agree with him or not, he’s a hard guy to dislike.
Steve Lackmeyer asked me to write a bit about “What should downtown Oklahoma City look like in 2020, and how can this vision be best achieved?” After rereading the question a couple times I began to notice a gap in the word “should” to the word I wanted to use…”could.”
Downtown Oklahoma City will undoubtedly look different; especially by bringing a more impressive skyline with Devon’s 54-story skyscraper and leveling the offensive crosstown bridge and shipping it off to a resting place not to be missed.
I could go on all day long on what I want downtown to look like in 2020 and could dream-up some ideas on what it could be…but let’s stick to the question, “What should downtown Oklahoma City look like…” Not sure if I’m the right person to ask, but I’ll at least give you a glimpse on what I should be doing in Downtown OKC in 2020.
As I gaze into my polished crystal ball I see myself hoping off the cable car at the stop off Sheridan between Harvey and Hudson and starring up at the iconic skyscraper and shielding my eyes from its glass reflection. Watching the cable car scoot on down Sheridian I scurry across the street into the Myriad Gardens immediately noticing how shiny the Crystal Bridge has become…the scrubbing and cleansing the outside has received over the past decade really helped in getting rid of all the gunk due to all the neglect from the two decades previous; which left it anything but “crystal.”
Heading farther south through ‘The Gardens’ my dog, “Reina” starts to bark at all the squirrels and geese that have started to plant themselves in the area due to the Core to Shore initiative passed roughly 10 years beforehand. Pulling on the leash and retracting Reina from his jubilee we trot on through the park, passing the street musicians and kiosk stands selling fruit and souvenior hats with “405″ across the front and the occasional “I (heart) OKC” shirts.
After the quick mile jog we get down to the river and I let Reina loose in the dog park off the river front and sit on the bank gazing off over the river at the 100,000-light ferris wheel and reflect over how anxious I was to find out more info about this Santa Monica Ferris Wheel once I read about its purchase online back in the summer of 2008 at a friend’s apartment in Edmond (can’t believe I chose to live in Edmond).
Whistling over to Reina and putting the leash back on him we head on back over the Skydance Bridge towards the rustling and bustling roar of a downtown finally stretching its legs from over a 100 years of pent-up excitement. We stop for a snack while I dangle my legs over the edge and scratch Reina’s tummy as cars travel underneath us sending wind gusts up to cool us down from the hot Oklahoma summer sun. Peering off to the East I start to notice all the trees that have started to finally reach the rooftops of all the recently occupied residential complexes.
Pedestrians keep walking by us on their way down to the river and some are headed the opposite direction to downtown to start a night rememberence while stopping to pet Reina as they often do…he has become an exuberently friendly face to those urbanites I’ve come to know over the years.
I take a second to think to myself, “The once dirt river and abandoned buildings has now turned into all this??? My kid’s will never believe me.”