Project changes show Oklahoma City's public input getting heard

The process of adding public input into the development of downtown Oklahoma City may not always be neat, it may not make everyone happy, but recent changes to big projects show debate and feedback are getting heard.
Oklahoman Published: December 18, 2012

The process of adding public input into the development of downtown may not always be neat, it may not make everyone happy, but recent changes to big projects show debate and feedback are being heard.

The Downtown Design Review Committee will see plans this week for a new downtown elementary school that are markedly different from the renderings that failed to capture their enthusiasm a few weeks ago.

At that presentation, committee members tasked with overseeing design of new buildings and existing structure renovations downtown lamented that the school facade included too few windows, a harsh institutional feel and little interaction with Sheridan Avenue.

The new renderings show a facade with more windows, designs more reflective of the Art Deco feel of nearby Film Row, and openings into the schoolyard facing Sheridan.

While the design committee is set up for such review, engineers overseeing planning for a new downtown boulevard were not eager to change their drawings on a project they hoped to start this winter.

But when the designs showed an elevated roadway extending from Western to Walker avenues, a grassroots protest fermented via Facebook at the community forum www.okctalk.com drew serious attention from city council members, civic leaders and legislators. Engineers who initially saw no way to change their plans regrouped and agreed to the hiring of an outside consultant.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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