As I start to think about the 20-year anniversary of the original MAPS vote, I'm reminded of all the “what if's?” that could have been.
What if American Airlines had built their maintenance facility in Oklahoma City and not in Fort Worth? What if United Airlines had built their maintenance facility in Oklahoma City and not in Indianapolis?
What if the citizens of Oklahoma City did not approve the first Metropolitan Area Projects?
What if Mayor Cornett had not called NBA Commissioner David Stern after Hurricane Katrina and convinced them that Oklahoma City had an arena ready and waiting for the displaced New Orleans Hornets? There were many more “what if's” but just think about these and imagine what our city would look like now.
The $1 billion United maintenance plant would be sitting vacant at Will Rogers World Airport and the city would owe hundreds of millions in bonds with no source of revenue to cover the debt. The Oklahoma City Thunder would not even exist much less be playing at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Bricktown would still be a worn-out industrial area with boarded up buildings, not the thriving commercial district with it's iconic canal, Chickasaw Baseball stadium, restaurants, and it's family-friendly environment.
And how do we not think of the Oklahoma River as the premier water and recreational venues with training facilities for the U.S. Olympic rowing team, seven miles of trails, boat houses built by Chesapeake and Devon and a kids' recreational area by SandRidge Energy? We would have no Devon Energy River Cruisers providing transportation and sightseeing excursions for our citizens and visitors.