In the summer of 2011, city council members wrangled over the order in which the MAPS 3 projects should be tackled. The vote to move up construction of the convention center came during a meeting that one vocal opponent of the idea missed due to a travel snag. He wasn't happy.
There have been other dust-ups and hiccups regarding MAPS 3, the $777 million package of projects approved by voters in December 2009. The original proposal called for 70 miles of new sidewalks throughout the city. Turns out, the $9 million budget can provide for perhaps 37 miles' worth. Instead of four senior wellness centers, the city may wind up building two larger ones, for a variety of reasons. Last week, concerns about a parking garage and hotel related to the convention center generated pointed back-and-forth among council members.
We've seen this before — with the original MAPS, which wound up transforming our city, and with MAPS for Kids, which provided our schoolchildren with long-overdue capital upgrades.
The early years of the original MAPS were particularly bumpy, marked by cost overruns and delays and haggling. In 1997, then-Mayor Ron Norick, who had shepherded MAPS to approval in December 1993, called for key city employees to be fired over a long delay in renovation and expansion of the Myriad Convention Center. For a time, some speculated that the building now known as Chesapeake Energy Arena would never get built due to problems related to other projects.