Moving up the suggested date for building the MAPS 3-funded convention center would likely mean delaying work on the downtown park or streetcar system, city officials learned Tuesday.
Officials were presented with the option at a joint meeting of the Oklahoma City Council and MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board held at the Cox Convention Center.
Architectural Design Group's Mike Mize presented those in attendance a revised proposed timeline for the eight projects to be built with $777 million from the MAPS 3 initiative, a penny sales tax approved by voters in 2009.
A $280 million convention center is last in line to be built, a plan that did not sit well with everybody. While land acquisition for the center would start next year, construction would not begin until 2018, ending in 2021.
The proposed timeline has the first phase of the streetcar and transit hub construction starting in 2013 and the last phase ending in 2019.
The $130 million park would be built in two phases, with the upper park — the area near downtown — being constructed between 2013 and 2014 and the less expensive, lower section — nearer to the Oklahoma River — being built in 2018 and 2019.
Moving the convention center up would likely mean moving the transit system or the park back, Mize told the group.
Advisory Board Chairman Tom McDaniel, who also chairs the convention center subcommittee, said consideration should be given to moving the convention center up on the timeline since it will have an economic impact at or near the top of all the
Advisory Board Member Rusty LaForge also suggested moving up the convention center because, he said, it could begin to pay for itself. Transit could be moved back, which could allow for technological improvements to help build the system.
Councilman Pete White worried that moving transit construction back would cause the city to miss out on possible matching federal funds that would allow expansion of the system beyond downtown.
The current $130 million budgeted for the system would allow about 5.5 miles of track.
“The only way this transit is going to work is that it has to go out beyond 5 miles,” White said. “Any thought of moving transit back could be a tragedy. In fact, I recommend moving it up.”
Advisory Board Member Kimberly Lowe, who also chairs the parks subcommittee, said she would not oppose moving the park construction back to allow for earlier building of the convention center.
“The city needs operational funds,” she said. “We need to look at bringing revenue in.”
White said quality-of-life issues for those living and working in Oklahoma City were at least as important as the economic development issues.
“I didn't ever understand that MAPS 3 was about economic development,” White said. “It's about quality of life.”
No vote on a project timeline was taken at the public meeting, but city staff members were hoping to have a more permanent timeline decided in about a month, MAPS 3 program manager Eric Wenger said.
“At some point you may have to vote,” Mayor Mick Cornett told those in attendance Tuesday. “There's going to be some tough decisions.”
MAPS 3 projects
Architectural Design Group's Mike Mize presented the Oklahoma City Council and the MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board with a preliminary construction timeline for the eight MAPS 3 projects.
Construction from late 2018 to mid-2021.
Construction of the upper park (near downtown) from early 2013 to late 2014; construction of the lower park (near Oklahoma River) from early 2018 to early 2019.
Construction is scheduled for two phases: Phase 1 from mid-2013 to mid-2016; and phase 2 from early 2017 to early 2019.
Construction is scheduled in two phases: Phase 1 in 2014; and phase 2 from late 2015 through 2016.
Construction of a windscreen and lighting in 2012; a starting system, docks and irrigation from early 2013 to early 2014; a white-water park from mid-2014 through 2015; and a grandstand, floating stage and additional lighting from early 2018 to early 2019.
Construction of Center 1 from early 2013 to mid-2014; Center 2 from early 2015 to mid-2016; Center 3 from late 2016 through 2017; Center 4 from mid-2018 to late 2019.
Construction scheduled for late 2013 to late 2016
Construction from early 2013 to late 2014.
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