Oklahoma City could use foundation to fund MAPS 3 park operations, study finds

A study commissioned by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation suggests the city could use a partnership with a private foundation to help maintain and operate the MAPS 3 urban park and Myriad Gardens.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: July 18, 2011

The city intends to use MAPS 3 money to build a 70-acre urban park south of downtown, but there's no money in the taxpayer-funded development program to operate and maintain it. A recent study suggests Oklahoma City could use a private foundation to raise funds to run the park and not squeeze the city's general fund.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation commissioned the study, which was released in June and led by Steven C. Agee, an economics professor and interim dean of Oklahoma City University's Meinders School of Business. Larkin Warner, professor emeritus of economics at Oklahoma State University, and students from OCU's Economics Research and Policy Institute assisted.

The study's comprehensive review of the city's park system examined how the renovated Myriad Gardens and MAPS 3 urban park will be incorporated into the city budget, along with analyses of the role of parks in Oklahoma City as demographics change and the park system itself.

The study estimates the new Myriad Gardens and MAPS 3 park will cost nearly $6 million annually.

The foundation's desire for the study grew in part from concern other parks could be neglected if the city had to stretch its budget to pay for the new ones, Agee said.

We've been pretty successful in finding partners when we've built a new park project.

Wendel Whisenhunt

director of the Oklahoma City's Parks and Recreation Department

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