After the success of the original MAPS initiatives helped revitalize Bricktown and the city's national image, MAPS for Kids directed city money toward the OKC school systems for renovations and new buildings. Now, MAPS 3 is on the horizon.
Here you'll find information related to MAPS 3 including a brief history of MAPS, a list of the proposed MAPS 3 initiatives and information on when MAPS 3 will go before a vote of the people.
History of MAPS
It's hard to believe now as we look back that the original MAPS initiatives nearly didn't pass a vote of the people. Early polls showed less than fantastic support for the Metropolitan Area Projects, a bundle of 9 major Oklahoma City projects to be funded by a 5 year, 1 cent sales tax increase. But in December of 1993, MAPS squeaked by voters at 54%. The rest, as they say, is history.
Originally conceived by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce and then-Mayor Ron Norick, MAPS included the following:
- Construction of a 20,000-seat, indoor sports arena (known originally as the Ford Center but now called the Chesapeake Energy Arena)
- Construction of a 15,000-seat ballpark (The Bricktown Ballpark)
- Construction of a new downtown library
- Construction of the Bricktown Canal
- Development of a trolley transit system
- Development along the North Canadian River
- Renovations to the Civic Center Music Hall
- Renovations to the Cox Convention Center
- Renovations to the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds
Although there were delays and complications, most of the original MAPS goals were met. And the resulting success has been nothing short of phenomenal. Most would attribute directly to MAPS the revitalization in Bricktown as well the great prospects for the continued presence of the NBA in OKC.
The 2nd set of MAPS projects went before voters in 2001. Dubbed "MAPS for Kids," the initiatives included over 100 Oklahoma City area school projects, from extensive renovations to new school constructions. Funded again by sales tax, MAPS for Kids would cost around $470 million.
That sales tax expired in 2008. Naturally, the talk of MAPS 3 began...
Mayor Mick Cornett brought up the idea in his 2007 State of the City Address, saying:
"First, understand that MAPS 3 is neither mandatory nor inevitable. [...] But, MAPS and MAPS for Kids have been so successful that I believe we owe it to ourselves to at least consider what more could be done to improve Oklahoma City."
An initial survey site, www.MAPS3.org, was then launched. Cornett's goal was to sample Oklahoma City residents on what they wanted to see happen next.
The early results, released in May of 2007, overwhelmingly favored public transit improvements such as street work, a light rail system, downtown streetcars and improved bus service.
Perhaps more important than the ideas themselves, though, was the fact that over 85 percent of respondents thought MAPS 3 was a good idea. Although the sample size was quite small, of course, this was a good indicator for future city improvements.
MAPS 3 was delayed in 2008 due to the city's pursuit of an NBA franchise. After the Seattle SuperSonics relocated and became the Thunder, the one-cent sales tax was continued in order to renovate the Ford Center.
Planning and Campaign
The sales tax extension for the Ford Center renovations expires at the end of March 2009. Mayor Mick Cornett and the city released the official plan for MAPS 3 on September 17, 2009.
The official plan called for a December 8, 2009 vote on a continuation of the one-cent sales tax for a period of 7 years and 9 months. The total $777 million would be used for the following:
- A new, approximately 70-acre central park linking the core of downtown with the Oklahoma River. The park would include a restaurant, lake, amphitheater, dog park, skating rink and other amenities. ($130 million)
- A new rail-based streetcar system of 5 to 6 miles downtown, a downtown transit hub to link streetcar, commuter rail and bus systems, and possibly increased funding for the building of commuter rail lines. ($130 million)
- A new downtown convention center on the south edge of downtown near the proposed park. ($280 million)
- Sidewalks to be placed on major streets and near facilities used by the public throughout the city. ($10 million)
- 57 miles of new public bicycling and walking trails throughout the City. ($40 million)
- Improvements to the Oklahoma River, including a public whitewater kayaking facility and upgrades intended to achieve the finest rowing racecourse in the world. ($60 million)
- State-of-the-art health and wellness aquatic centers throughout the city designed for senior citizens. ($50 million)
- Improvements to the State Fair Park public buildings, meeting halls and exhibit spaces. ($60 million)
- Contingency funds to cover unforeseen costs ($17 million)
Coming out in support of MAPS 3 were, obviously, the mayor and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, as well as many other civic organizations, schools and businesses. They had a campaign website at www.yesformaps.com. On the other side of the issue were Oklahoma City's fire and police unions, among others. Their committee Not This MAPS claimed far more pressing concerns in the current economic climate.
On December 8, 2009, MAPS 3 passed by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. Election board officials estimated a total voter turnout of 31 percent, significantly higher than most local elections. Final vote numbers were 40,956 yes and 34,465 no.
A citizen oversight board was created, and the order of projects has been set.
Keep checking back for updates...