Mayor shares dreams for city's next 20 years

By Bryan Dean Published: February 1, 2008
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/> The drawings showed a new convention center, a large park and retail and residential developments stretching from the boulevard south to the river.

"Few cities get the opportunity to rebuild a new portion of their downtown from scratch, and we intend to make the most of it,” Cornett said.

Cornett said much of the city's future hinges on the March 4 vote on a temporary 1-cent sales tax to fund improvements to the Ford Center.

The proposal is intended to lure an NBA team and keep the Ford Center competitive in hosting events such as the Big 12 basketball tournaments. The Seattle SuperSonics have applied to relocate to Oklahoma City, and NBA owners are scheduled to vote on the application in April.

The State of the City address was hosted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, which is also leading the campaign to pass the Ford Center proposal.

Larry Nichols, chairman of the chamber and chief executive of Devon Energy, spoke in support of the proposal before introducing the mayor.

Nichols encouraged those attending the speech to fill out cards pledging support for the Ford Center proposal either by giving money or volunteering to display signs or handing out campaign material.

"The initial polling looks good,” Nichols said. "But we all know that single issue votes are the ones that are the most at risk.”

Cornett said the proposal is not without opposition. He was forceful in his contention that passing the tax is in the city's best interest.

"Being a big league city in 2008 means sharing an international stage with the greatest cities in the world.”

"That can happen here, and we are ready for it.

A decade of momentum hangs on the balance of that March 4 vote. You are going to hear from people who want to hold us back. Don't let them.”




This conceptual view from a pedestrian bridge on the Oklahoma River looks north along Hudson Avenue to the existing downtown skyline. Provided by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce

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