Today's boat ride also would not have been possible without a decision late in the planning stages by the city council to stop design work on the canal and consider a plan to create the existing mile-long segment instead of three distinct segments with the first one ending just south of Reno Avenue.
The source of the proposal to raise the ground under the “middle segment” to allow for a longer continuous canal was none other than Moshe Tal, a longtime litigant against the city. The man who championed his idea on the city council was former Councilman Jack Cornett — not always the most popular guy on the council horseshoe.
Downtown's development over the past 20 years reflects numerous examples of debates, challenges and second-guessing. Not everyone would agree with the challenges and second-guessing that took place with the arena (some wanted it shelved, which would have certainly prevented Oklahoma City from ever landing an NBA team). And plenty of transit folks complain about the successful opposition former Rep. Ernest Istook staged against the original MAPS plan for a downtown streetcar system (which is now funded, independent of federal appropriation this time, as part of MAPS 3).
So just remember, controversies, debates and second-guessing are in the DNA of MAPS. And to quote early-day MAPS promoter Devery Youngblood one more time, what we are witnessing, ugly as it is, is the “butchering of the steer” that must occur before the serving of any great steak dinner.