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OKC Central: Downtown revival story follows advice by original Oklahoma City founders

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 23, 2013

Sunday's issue of The Oklahoman was one that was worth far more than the newsstand price. The highlight of the paper for me was the latest addition to the series “Stories of the Ages”: an in-depth package written by Matt Patterson looking at the “Century Chest” opened Monday at downtown's First Lutheran Church.

Spectators of the opening were treated to what may very well be the best historical treasure trove ever provided by a time capsule in Oklahoma City. Listening to the thoughts, dreams, ideals and concerns expressed by civic leaders a century ago, I wonder what they would make of Oklahoma City in 2013.

Springtime in Oklahoma City is certainly turning into an annual showcase of just how far we've come, not just in a century, but simply in the past decade. Even a few years ago, a shot at Oklahoma City making national headlines was pretty much limited to bad news — tornadoes, reminders of the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, and sometimes the occasional bit of embarrassing hyperbole expressed at the state Capitol.

A lot of hard work and dedication have turned springtime into a showcase of what makes Oklahoma City great — the annual Memorial Marathon, regattas along the Oklahoma River, and yes, a shot at the Thunder making the NBA playoffs.

Should the Thunder advance through the playoffs, the number of reporters visiting downtown will swell into the hundreds. At the same time, the waves of civic leaders from other cities seeking to learn about our revival continue. Just this week, we hosted 110 civic leaders, including the mayor and council from Raleigh, N.C.

The reporters and visitors drawn to Oklahoma City over the coming weeks will see a downtown where tens of thousands of people gather for the annual Festival of the Arts. They will see a packed Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark where old-fashioned minor league baseball remains a family favorite.

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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