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Convention center reflects challenges of Oklahoma City's MAPS 3

This isn't the first time Oklahoma City leaders have been faced with budgeting, timing, and design challenges in MAPS projects.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 2, 2013

Add into the mix of uncertainty the question of where to either build a large garage, or as suggested by planners, a series of smaller garages to serve the convention center and hotel.

Another murky issue is the ultimate outcome for an Oklahoma Gas & Electric substation southeast of the convention center and east of the new Core to Shore park (also being built as part of MAPS 3).

Finally, consider that questions persist as to the ultimate design of a new downtown boulevard that is to be built between the new convention center and park on the old alignment of Interstate 40.

Engineers hoped to have boulevard construction under way by now, but design was paused when a grassroots movement arose against plans to build it elevated west of Walker Avenue. Engineers say construction isn't set to begin until either late 2015 or early 2016.

And the design could still change, now that it is undergoing a new review by the Federal Highway Administration. The current proposed design would have the boulevard curve a bit south into the old alignment of the adjoining SW 3, allowing for a bigger footprint for the convention center.

So with all this said, the current timetable calls for all these issues to be resolved, and for construction on the new convention center to begin by 2016.

Good luck with that. And just remember, the original MAPS program, now beloved and heralded as one of our city's finest moments, was horribly behind schedule, over budget and hardly resembling the original water colors presented to voters.

Most of those involved in that bit of history now look back and say such changes all resulted in a downtown that far exceeded their original vision.

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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