Downtown gets nod from Kansas City Star

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: May 20, 2008
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nday the Kansas City Star started an in-depth series that suggests to readers that their hometown's downtown improvement efforts paled in comparison with peer cities.

And here's where it gets interesting. That list includes the obvious — Indianapolis, Nashville, Tenn., Salt Lake City, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Denver. And add to the list one more city: Oklahoma City.

A decade ago, such an inclusion wasn't even thinkable. Every one of those cities — except Oklahoma City — was clearly on the tier-two level. They all had healthy convention business, busy airports and major league sports franchises.

The Kansas City Star reported the obvious — that downtown Oklahoma City has come a long way even before the pending arrival of the NBA.

The report showed Kansas City and Oklahoma City were the only cities of the 13 surveyed not to experience a net loss in downtown business establishments, and it also showed Oklahoma City had one of the highest jumps in downtown hotel room bookings.

And, miracle of miracle, I've not spotted one comment about the bombing, the Dust Bowl or the "Grapes of Wrath.”

So what's more important to Oklahoma City's image? In the perception game, I'm gambling that Kansas City's nod to Oklahoma City as a peer worth watching might just lead to bigger things.

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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