Oklahoma City Council approves MAPS 3 sidewalks master plan

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: October 31, 2012
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More sidewalks?

The planning document will allow city authorities to start at the top of the list and move down until the money runs out, and potentially continue with new funding sources.

Money from the city's general fund or MAPS 3 contingency accounts are options. But Mayor Mick Cornett said it may not be wise to dip into contingency funds only three years into the MAPS 3 tax collection.

“I don't think we need to start spending contingency money today to fulfill it,” Cornett said. “But a year from now? Five years from now?”

White, who was the first Tuesday to float the idea of using MAPS 3 contingency funds, agreed with Cornett, but previously insisted the council not ignore the sidewalks, though it is one of the least visible projects.

“If ... we were only going to build 40 percent of the convention center, we'd have the whole MAPS advisory committee coming in here telling us to raid the contingency fund to build the convention center,” White said.

Councilman Ed Shadid echoed the idea, later noting there have been indications the city can't afford to build a convention center as big as studies recommended for the economic boost Oklahoma City is seeking.

Other projects

Todd and City Manager Jim Couch have been careful to point out the MAPS 3 sidewalk budget is only a portion of what the city is spending to catch up on sidewalks. The city is far behind the number of sidewalks civic leaders want, and officials blame a 50-year period when sidewalks were ignored as a part of requirements for property development as the metro expanded.

New requirements for private developments, federally funded sidewalk projects and $68 million for sidewalks in the city's last general obligation bond issue also are helping to build more.

Council members said they expect to find a way to pay for the 70 miles promised as part of MAPS 3.

“Eventually, I'd like to think this council and future councils will finish that thing out,” Cornett said.