Nothing packs the movie theaters like a big-budget sequel. Moviegoers are willing to pay for a ticket because they are pretty sure they’ll like it. Now, coming Dec. 8 to a voting booth near you — MAPS 3. Whether MAPS 3 will be a rousing success — "The Godfather: Part II” — or a flop — "Weekend at Bernie’s 2” — will be up to Oklahoma City voters. Ward 1 Councilman Gary Marrs, who was the city’s fire chief when the original MAPS passed in 1993, said the $777 million MAPS 3 plan includes several projects that make it feel like a MAPS sequel. "It almost is like those projects were so successful and we’ve enjoyed so much from them that it’s a logical next step to improve them and make them even better,” Marrs said. Improvements to the Oklahoma River, State Fair Park and downtown convention center were all part of MAPS — and all return in MAPS 3. But the stars of the MAPS 3 lineup may be a proposed downtown park linking downtown with the Oklahoma River, and improvements to public transit city leaders hope will serve as a building block for everything from improved bus service to commuter rail.
Survey as guideIn 2007, Mayor Mick Cornett unveiled a Web site asking city residents whether they wanted another MAPS, and if they did, what projects they wanted to include. With 2,700 responses, another MAPS was a popular idea. Popular ideas found there way into other ballot propositions or came about on their own. Luring a professional sports team became a reality with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. Improving city streets came about with a 2008 bond issue, and a new skyscraper will grace the skyline soon thanks to the efforts of Devon Energy. David Holt, Cornett’s chief of staff, said the most popular idea was improving public transit, by a margin of three-to-one. "It made it impossible to not listen,” Holt said. "The No. 1 thing the survey did and should be remembered for is elevating transit and making it an item you had to include on MAPS 3.”
Bigger, better sequelMarrs said city residents who remember the original MAPS projects embrace the concept and understand how much it has meant to the city. He said he expects MAPS 3 will be bigger and better. "Now you have all these examples, and I think the vision of what MAPS does is easier to see now than when we were trying to pitch the original projects,” Marrs said. Get your popcorn ready for Dec. 8.