The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber is quite the buzz following the premier of their new recruitment video shown at Thursday’s annual State of the City address, and it hands down surpassed anything said at the luncheon. Take a look at it – it’s pretty impressive.
Live chat goes up on the NewsOK business page at 9:30 a.m. – that’s when you can begin leaving comments and questions. The chat will then begin at 10 a.m.
In my story about the master plan for the new MAPS 3 Core to Shore park, project architect Mary Margaret Jones confirmed what has long been suspected: all buildings on the site except for Union Station will be destroyed. Note: I was privy just a couple years ago to a company that was buying the old Film Exchange building, wanted to renovate it, and even privately told the city they would gladly work with planners to ensure it complimented the park. They were advised to go with another site. And so it sits empty, awaiting demolition. Here’s a glimpse of a couple of the buildings targeted for destruction:
Hit me with your best shot…. OKC Central Live Chat starts at 10 a.m., you can begin logging in with questions and comments starting at 9:30 a.m. on the NewsOK business page.
A lot of folks are talking about the announcement today that OPUBCO may return downtown to a transformed Century Center. I’m happy to hear so many people are excited about the possibility, which is still a pending deal.
As it stands right now, I’ll be resuming the OKC Central Live Chats this Friday. Please be understanding that what I know or can report, and what information I’ll have Friday, will likely be no more than what was in the story posted today.
As for the few skeptical co-workers at my shop, consider this: Edmond traffic is FAR worse than downtown traffic. And you won’t have to leave the building to frequent the Sheraton Hotel’s Aria Lounge. And the neighborhood has a far better choice of restaurants than the McDonald’s and Subway we have within a five-minute drive. We’ll have a great “neighborhood park” across the street. And we can walk from work to Thunder games!
Sorry gang, but it’s been a rather crazy week for me, and today I’m being pulled away by some other obligations. Hopefully we can resume live chat next week.
“Our goal is to complete this project by the end of 2014. You have to hit certain mile stones to make that happen, and we’ve been in talks with the city to make that happen. There should be no surprise we are working expeditiously to make these connect complete to downtown. We’ve been at this quite a long time. We’re moving forward because no one has told us to stop. And why would we stop?”
- Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Gary Ridley, July, 2012
Now this headline from Michael McNutt: Downtown OKC boulevard completion won’t be until 2016
This definitely gets my attention. Just a few months ago, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation was making it clear there would be no delays, that the project had to be finished in 2014. The word “promise” was thrown about a dozen, if not dozens of times in statements from ODOT representatives and engineers as they explained why the boulevard project could not be delayed to allow for public input and possible design changes that might be sought out by the city. But they couldn’t simply dismiss the concerns of property owners, residents and city council members that the elevated bypass could kill redevelopment of the surrounding Core to Shore area.
The residents of Oklahoma City spoke out, they showed up at public meetings by the hundreds to express their opposition to the 1990s-era elevated bypass designs being pushed by ODOT engineers on a road that would then belong to the city. It was a road that residents, right or wrong, thought would be a pedestrian-friendly boulevard.
Officials with the Federal Highway Administration were watching and listening at those meetings. City council members sided with the protesters, and City Manager Jim Couch and his city engineers offered up a compromise: hire an out-of-state engineer to look at all options to see if all concerns could be addressed. The solution, known as Option A by Stantech, hasn’t made everyone happy. Opponents question why Stantech wasn’t allowed to simply look at doing away with the boulevard all together.
My one surprise is that no one has asked if a full intersection couldn’t be added at Lee Avenue (not a heavily traveled road) to ensure that ample north-south pedestrian crossings can exist along the boulevard and prevent the road from being a short version of the Lake Hefner Parkway.
Note, this is still largely a bypass – there is only ONE intersection being added – at Reno Avenue, that would require traffic to stop. That’s it. One stop for pedestrians to cross between Western and Walker Avenues.
Read Zeke Campfield’s latest story advancing tomorrow’s debate here: Oklahoma City Council set to make decision on boulevard design
Glory days indeed. OKC Central Live Chat resumes its normal weekly schedule today. You can begin logging in questions, comments on the NewsOK business page starting at 9:30 a.m., chat begins at 10 a.m. Have a great day!
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DUSTIN AKERS
The bags started going over the parking meters along Park Avenue yesterday – much to the dismay of some Thunder fans who discovered they would have to find alternate parking during last night’s game. From appearances, it seems as if the shooting for the next Nike commercial starring Kevin Durant is actually inside First National. We’ve already seen how these commercials cast OKC into a new light for international audiences. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The world keeps moving. That’s the thing I’m constantly having to remember every time I take some time off, which I’ve done quite a bit this past month.
Thanks for sticking with me. Maybe you saw me out and about and on the job, trying to get back into the groove. Maybe I was smiling. Maybe I wasn’t. Anyway, one more time … thanks for your patience, your support and friendship.
So what’s new? The sign in the window at the Park Harvey Building across from the county courthouse indicates the popular Edmond burger joint Cow-Calf Cafe is coming downtown. On the flip side, Coaches, a popular restaurant at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark that opened shortly after the ballpark itself in 1998, has shut down as Coaches appears to be ending its life as brand overseen by Enduring Brands.
Downtown in December finished up with another spectacular year. The folks at Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. and all those who work with them on these events deserve a big round of applause. Thanks to all of you.
Some of you may have noticed paper up in the windows of the former Sage restaurant in Deep Deuce. It was supposed to become Le Cep restaurant, but a court notice later posted at the entrance gives a clear indication that deal is dead.
Mike Knopp, director of the OKC Boathouse Foundation, informs us a celebration of Bill Schnittman’s life will be held Friday at 4:00 p.m. in the Devon Boathouse. Bill was murdered over the holidays – a victim of what has been one of the bloodiest years in city history. Let’s hope we can all cherish life a bit more in 2013. I’m told the service will be a casual event – and as Mike notes, “just as Bill would have wanted it.”