Over at OKC Talk, a good conversation is underway about properties considered to be blights on the city skyline. It’s easy to understand why the Veolia (formerly known as Trigen) plant is mentioned prominently. To be fair, it was actually quite progressive that way back in the early 1970s a thermal energy plant was built to provide an alternative heating and cooling source for downtown properties. I’ve seen quite a competition between Veolia and Oklahoma Gas & Electric in providing service to downtown buildings, including those owned by the city. The plant was built at what city leaders thought, at the time, would remain an obscure southeast boundary for downtown.
Today, as we all know, the intersection of E.K. Gaylord and Sheridan is among the most visible intersections downtown, at the crossroads of the central business district, the convention center, hotels and Bricktown. It’s a busy corridor. And yeah, it’s kind of ugly.
A dozen years ago downtown property owners, planners and civic leaders participated in a series of downtown master planning meetings. Sadly, the action plan they developed was quickly abandoned for lack of movement. One idea I always thought was great was the idea that the old Trigen plant could become a great canvass for public art or for glitzy Times Square style billboards.
So how about it folks? Why can’t this be done? And if it can be done, who will take the lead?