“We are adrift at sea,” Shadid said. “We do know that no city has been able to do it (a conference hotel) relying on the private sector alone.”
Councilman Pat Ryan led the majority of the city council, including Gary Marrs, Meg Salyer and Larry McAtee, in rebuffing Shadid's complaints, noting they had long considered the need for a hotel and parking and that studies and planning continue.
“We can't solve all the problems in advance,” Ryan said. “We don't know what the private sector will do in terms of hotel rooms; we don't know what the private sector will demand with parking facilities. I suggest we focus on the convention center … it's the only item we can consider now and have any ability to influence.”
Ryan added the city council is “not the U.S. Congress kicking the can down the road.”
Marrs said discussions during the MAPS 3 campaign did mention a conference hotel. When the pitch for a convention center was first made by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber in March 2009, the proposed project mentioned a hotel but not the need for subsidies.
“We did talk about it,” Marrs said. “It's been a subject we talked about when we started putting MAPS 3 together. … I don't believe there was ever any subterfuge trying to hide the fact there would have to be some amenities that came along with this.”
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A convention center hotel is something we will need. And yes, most convention center hotels do need some sort of subsidy.”