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Project 180 no longer following original schedule

City encounters challenges as it tries to complete the Project 180 makeover of downtown streets, sidewalks and parks.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: January 22, 2012

When Project 180 was launched in 2009, city officials tasked with implementing the makeover of downtown streets and public spaces repeatedly insisted the entire program needed to be finished by 2014.

Officials regularly cited an agreement with Devon Energy Corp. that established the tax increment finance district established in connection with the company's construction of a $750 million headquarters to pay for Project 180. It was a strict timetable that city officials, including then-Assistant City Manager Cathy O'Connor and Project 180 coordinator Laura Story, insisted had to be followed and couldn't be delayed to wait for construction of a downtown streetcar system.

By last fall, the area to be improved and the timetable no longer followed those ambitious initial plans. Both O'Connor and Story have left their jobs at City Hall, though both still work closely with the city with Story working as consultant on Project 180 and O'Connor heading up the new Alliance for the Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

Streets cut from Project 180 include Broadway, with the exception of the block between Main Street and Sheridan Avenue; all of E.K. Gaylord Boulevard; and sections of Main Street, Robert S. Kerr Avenue and NW 5 — between E.K. Gaylord and Broadway.

Other streets are likely to be delayed for years beyond the original 2014 completion target, including Park Avenue between Broadway and Walker Avenue. And while plans for the revamp of the Civic Center park include the area surrounding City Hall, those improvements are now being pushed back to an unset future date as well.

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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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