The upcoming wave of change about to hit downtown Oklahoma City now has a name: Project 180.
The Web site for the campaign, www.okc.gov/project180/
, isn’t much to look at yet — basically a video explaining what’s about to hit downtown and some links to the city’s public works and planning departments.
But if all goes as hoped, Project 180 will have a person attached to it (that person has yet to be hired) and a campaign aimed at ensuring the 180 doesn’t reflect a reversal in downtown’s momentum.
Oklahoma City’s public information officer Kristy Yager explains that ‘180’ describes the scale of improvements about to hit downtown — 180 acres. That’s 180 acres of streets the city will give new sidewalks, furniture, signage, landscaping and lighting.
The area also includes a $30 million makeover of Myriad Gardens, and improvements to Bicentennial Park, the park in front of City Hall and other pocket green spaces downtown.
Yager hopes the Web site and educational campaign will help downtown visitors and workers keep their sanity as much of downtown goes through construction and change.
"It’s huge,” Yager said. "And it will require a huge communication effort. It’s one of the most exciting projects I’ve been a part of.”
No doubt. Most of Project 180 is a direct spin-off of construction of a $750 million, 50-story new headquarters for Devon Energy Corp. being built immediately north of Myriad Gardens.
Devon Energy could have sought to use much of the related tax increment financing for expansion of a garage and infrastructure.