An organizing committee announced Friday they are set to host a series of events marking the upcoming 20th anniversary of the vote for the original Metropolitan Area Projects.
The MAPS ballot, passed on Dec. 14, 1993, was an unprecedented initiative in Oklahoma City history that funded — debt-free — a series of major capital improvements: a new arena, a new ballpark, a new library, river restoration, the Bricktown Canal, a makeover of the convention center, Civic Center Music Hall and State Fair Park, and a downtown transit system.
The penny sales tax, passed for five years and extended six months to ensure construction of the arena, raised more than $360 million.
The Steering Committee will host several community activities leading up to the anniversary, including a special exhibit at the Oklahoma History Center, events at all of the original MAPS venues and a special event at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Dec. 6. Information about the events can be found at www.okcchamber.com/celebratemaps.
Former Mayor Ron Norick, who launched MAPS, and former Mayor Kirk Humphreys, who oversaw its completion, were joined by current Mayor Mick Cornett in announcing the festivities.
“Looking back over the past 20 years, I can easily see how the original MAPS projects changed the trajectory of this city,” Norick said. “Our city's success is an extension of the investment from our citizens. When we celebrate MAPS, we are celebrating a turning point in Oklahoma City's history.”
The committee, which unveiled its plans at the downtown B.C. Clark's Jewelers, also displayed a commemorative holiday ornament celebrating the original MAPS program.
The ornament features original artwork of all nine MAPS projects surrounded by a gold filigree frame. The ornament was designed by MTM Recognition and will be available to purchase exclusively at BC Clark Jewelers for $16.50. Each ornament comes in a fitted gift box that can be customized with a company logo with orders of 100 or more.
All proceeds from the sale of the ornament will benefit the Oklahoma River Foundation, an organization that promotes development along the Oklahoma River.
“It is an honor to be the exclusive retailer for what we hope becomes a new Oklahoma City tradition,” said Jim Clark, president of BC Clark Jewelers. “As the oldest retailer in Oklahoma City and the oldest jewelry store in Oklahoma, we have experienced the benefits of the MAPS projects firsthand. ”