Skeptics who grew up thinking the river could never fill with water because it would leak into downtown building basements scoffed at the thought of the North Canadian River becoming an attractive waterway. They scoffed at the idea that an eyesore that divided north and south Oklahoma City would earn respect even among locals.
But the Oklahoma River is making headlines nationwide and was featured prominently on national network television when the Oklahoma City Thunder made the NBA playoffs last year.
Ackerman, the one-time outsider, could only smile and say: “Steve, did you see that article in The New York Times? Steve, did you see Charles Barkley on the river cruiser?”
I admired Ackerman; I considered him a friend. Yet I, too, was one of those skeptics. Ackerman, the outsider, showed us all that with perseverance — and some slick promotion — the outsiders can bring wondrous change to our city.