Hearing some things today that make me wonder if there really will be a fair and open consideration of where the future MAPS 3 convention center will be built. While the public is being told no spot is favored, a very different message is being communicated behind the scenes from too many sources for me to stay quiet a moment longer.
Carefully consider the following questions:
- If there is no favored site, why was the south of Ford Center site shown in all of the renderings and models released to the public during the campaign? How would such displays not indicate a favored site to the public?
- What site was recommended by the Tier Two convention consultant?
- If the new convention center is to be used seven days a week, won’t those visitors take up the parking surrounding the new central park if the convention center is built just east of it, and south of Ford Center? Won’t such a set-up create a scarcity of parking for residents wanting to use the park?
- Aren’t premier parks a potential magnet for economic development? If so, why would OKC want to dedicate half a park’s frontage to a public building? (part of the central park frontage is not going to be available for development due to its proximity to the new I-40).
- Bricktown merchants have said and shown that the walking distance from the site south of Ford Center will devastate their businesses compared to the Southwest Producers Co-op south of Lower Bricktown. What is the risk of Oklahoma City turning Bricktown into another faded once hot district like West End in Dallas?
- What will be more likely to develop on its own, without a massive infusion of public money: A scattering of century-old brick warehouses and empty lots, or the Southwestern Producers Co-op south of Lower Bricktown?
- Can eminent domain be used against a property owner demanding an inflated amount for land targeted for a public project? (like a convention center)
- What should guide downtown’s long-term growth, the price of land or the best and highest use of land?
- Could a convention center, accompanied by a conference hotel, benefit Boathouse Row along the river in the south of Ford Center site? Could it benefit Boathouse Row south of Lower Bricktown?
- Is the Producers Co-op a property that contributes to the impression made on visitors? If not, how will it ever be addressed if not through acquisition of the land for a convention center (a question asked publicly to no response by former Mayor Kirk Humphreys)?
Pretty soon we’ll be hearing a new debate over signage in some of downtown’s districts. Granted, there are some bland, meaningless signs out there today that do nothing for the urban landscape. But why can’t we recapture the magic of yesterday? Something like this…
I challenge you. I dare you. I demand that you start up a rental conference bicycle operation downtown by May so it can be shown off for the National Main Street Conference and U.S. Conference of Mayors when both groups come here this spring. (Read more about these bicycles here)
I’m a bit late in posting this. Last weekend Jacksonville, Florida column Ron Littlepage, who proudly notes his Texas heritage, had this to say about downtown Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City, being in Oklahoma, isn’t exactly located in the middle of a garden spot. And the Oklahoma River that runs through it is OK, but it’s no St. Johns River.
As we look for ways to revitalize Jacksonville’s downtown and take better advantage of the St. Johns, we may want to look to Oklahoma City as an example of what can be done with a plan the citizens buy into and have the commitment to get it done.
Geez, being a Texan, that was painful to write.
Read the whole column here.
Valentines Day is this Sunday….
During the MAPS 3 campaign, Mayor Mick Cornett was pretty emphatic that the central park should be one of the first projects started. Today’s story apparently got the streetcar enthusiasts upset hearing their favorite project might not start until 2020…. so, what do you think? What should come first, what comes last?
Funny thing about longevity – the more you’ve experienced in life, the more you begin to understand Yogi Bera’s comment “it’s deja vu all over again.”
Reaction to today’s Project 180 story has been quite interesting with a lot of inflamed commentary on timing of projects, priorities and planning.
Yep, it’s butchering of the steer all over again.
I predict MAPS 3 will be cursed and hated while it’s built, and then everyone will deny having hated it once it’s done.
Of course I could be wrong.
“The only thing new in this world is the history that you don’t know” – Harry S. Truman
Yeah, as you can imagine, I hear that sometimes. And I start off by listening.
This time, the complaint was voiced by a member of the Downtown Design Review Committee. He noted that with the Palo Duro project they were only holding to what the ordinance allows them to dictate.
I’m not arguing that point at all. But other design review committees have found a way to use, how shall we refer to it?… Peer Pressure.
Think about it. When McDonalds wanted to build a restaurant in Bricktown, they only had a compliance problem with the the footprint of the building, not the exterior design itself. The design committee knew they couldn’t really dictate the exterior design in that part of the district, and yet they demanded and urged McDonalds to do better. They used their bully pulpit to tell the community that McDonalds was trying to settle for a franchise design for this historic district. McDonalds got the message and changed their designs. They worked with city staff and architects on the committee to come up with a design that most felt was much more appropriate for the old warehouse district.
We’ve seen this done on other projects as well, and with other urban design districts.
So what do you think? Should a design committee only concern itself with what does or does not comply with the letter of the law? Or should they try to influence property owners to come up with better designs when the designs they submit are judged to be detrimental to the community?
A couple weeks ago an ominously-headlined story on ESPN ended up bringing a smile to folks here in Oklahoma City. New York City-based travel writer Robert Reid took notice:
In the most underrated travel story of our young decade, veteran NBA guard Kevin Ollie spoke to ESPN about his new home, Oklahoma City — a place that has the reputation as something of an “NBA purgatory.” Ie The last place you’d want to be traded to.
But Ollie joined fellow Thunder players to defend it, and talk up post-game ballyhoo around Bricktown’s Flaming Lips Alley, food at Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, before returning home to “play the crib” early.
Ollie said, “It’s not LA or Miami, but it’s cool here. REAL CHILL.”
The Oklahoma City CVB should take note. Currently Oklahoma’s capital — and one of a handful of cities I’ve voted as the best made-over ugly-duckings around the USA — has no tourism pitch phrase, slogan, moniker.
How about ‘Oklahoma City: Real Chill’?
Well folks, what do you think?