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OKC Council challenges mayor on plans to move electric substation for $30M

A master plan for the scheduling and budgeting of the MAPS 3 projects still reserves $30 million for moving a power station in Core to Shore even though a majority of the city council said Tuesday they don't favor such expenditure.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 20, 2011
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A master plan for the scheduling and budgeting of the MAPS 3 projects still reserves $30 million for moving a power station in the planned Core to Shore development even though a majority of the city council said Tuesday they don't favor such expenditure.

Council members Gary Marrs, Pete White, Larry McAtee and Meg Salyer all disputed an account given by Mayor Mick Cornett that described council members as agreeing behind the scenes to set aside the money for buying the substation property at SW 4 and Robinson Avenue from Oklahoma Gas and Electric and paying for it to be relocated.

David Greenwell and Ed Shadid, who were sworn in to their first terms on the council last week, also voiced concerns about the expenditure.

Opponents of the substation purchase say the debate's outcome may determine whether the convention center is built to the scale promised to voters, or one about 80,000 square feet smaller.

Cornett told a joint meeting of the Oklahoma City Council and the MAPS 3 citizen's oversight board that consultants hired before the campaign indicated a new convention center would cost $250 million (the actual report by Convention Sports and Leisure suggested budgeting between $250 million and $400 million).

He said the $30 million was added to the convention center budget during closed-door discussions with the city council after learning a substation across from a planned central park, another MAPS 3 project, would be “very, very expensive” to move. Cornett pushed for the substation site to be chosen for the convention center, but consultants and a MAPS 3 citizen's committee since have deemed it unviable due to its distance from Bricktown and downtown hotels.

“The first number we got in was it might be as much as $75 million to move the substation,” Cornett said. “I asked for more info from staff and they responded it seemed as if it might cost $30 million to have the substation removed. … The thought was put $30 million into the substation (if the convention center was located in a different spot), and put whatever of that isn't needed back into the convention center.”

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist 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 Metropolitan...
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