The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers during his weekly OKC Central Chat. Participate in the chat every Friday morning on NewsOK.com/Business. Read the entire chat recap here.
I was on one of the Devon boats and the guide mentioned that someone had purchased an old ferris wheel was restoring it with hopes of putting it next to the Oklahoma river. Have you heard anything about this? I'm not sure how that would be received, if true.
I reported extensively on this several years ago. Grant Humphreys, who developed Block 42 in Deep Deuce, bought the Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel on eBay when it was being replaced with a bigger, more modern ferris wheel with LED lighting.
That ferris wheel was disassembled and put into storage for use as part of a development on the old Downtown Airpark along Western Avenue on the south shore of the river. The development, however, was put on hold when the economy tanked in 2008. I do not sense anything is moving forward with the site anytime soon.... don't be surprised if there are talks about using the Ferris Wheel at a different location.
You think maybe we could suggest to Kevin Durant to include apartments or condos above his restaurant?
Kevin Durant really has very little to do with the restaurant other than he is associating his name, good will with the operation. The restaurant will be owned and operated by the Hal Smith Group, which also owns Louie's, Charleston's and Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill. The building will be owned by developer Randy Hogan. And it is Randy Hogan who decided to push for the current one-story, parking oriented structure that is so unpopular with many of my readers and with civic leaders.
Are you concerned by the recent exodus seemingly by so many city planners? What are some ways that public works, transit and planning can better integrate their efforts?
Yes. The city has lost almost all of its most respected, innovative planners in the past year. I've talked to some of these folks. They say they are frustrated by the unprecedented dominance of decision making at City Hall by engineers. They say they feel like planning has been diminished as a consideration on public works projects, MAPS and other big initiatives.
The city manager, the assistant city manager, public works director and MAPS 3 coordinator are all engineers - and they are the ones calling many of the shots on hiring of MAPS 3 consultants, land use, etc.