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OKC Civic Affairs


Oklahoma City Council declines to ask for convention center study

by William Crum Published: January 6, 2014

The Oklahoma City Council declined last week to ask a business group to release a study on the feasibility of constructing new convention facilities in Oklahoma City.

The study was finished in early 2009 for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, before voters approved plans for a new $252 million convention center as part of MAPS 3.

Steve Lackmeyer’s coverage is here and here.

Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer said last week the city’s economy has changed dramatically since 2009 and argued the Chamber’s study is outdated.

Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid said parts remain relevant, including a list of “structural obstacles” — such as limited airline connections, harsh weather, and public transit deficiencies.

The study’s discussion of the need for a convention center hotel is especially important, Shadid said.

A hotel is not part of MAPS and no plans have been made for how one might be financed.

Ward 8 Councilman Pat Ryan said the study is “a private matter. If they don’t want it made available to the public, that’s their decision.”

Shadid, Ward 4 Councilman Pete White and Ward 7 Councilman John Pettis voted to ask the Chamber to release the study.

Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner, Ward 3 Councilman Larry McAtee, Mayor Mick Cornett, Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell, Salyer and Ryan voted not to ask.

Cornett said later that he’d seen the study back in 2009 and that he thinks it has minimal relevance.

In assessing whether the public should help finance a convention center hotel, the mayor said, “I’m not going to rely heavily on it in making my decision.”

Chamber President and CEO Roy Williams said Friday that any decision to release the study would be up to his board.

by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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