Last week’s column about the little details not being addressed downtown drew quite a bit of response from readers – and I also heard from folks at city hall and Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., who say they’re just as eager to get such flaws addressed.
During a walk through Bricktown, I observed missing bricks in the sidewalks, crumbling concrete in the crosswalks and a loss of the lighting that once showcased landscaping along the canal. In December of 2012, the Tax Increment Finance Committee approved $750,000 to address such issues.
Hopefully that money will be put to good use soon.
Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., meanwhile, indicates they are aware of the peeling paint on the canal railings and other issues I raised and are just as eager to see those matters quickly addressed.
Anyone who might interpret last week’s column as criticism of either city hall or Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. would be mistaken. Instead, consider it a reminder that these little details are adding up.
In the meantime, city hall is continuing to oversee what is one of the most ambitious 20-year overhauls of any major metropolitan community that started with passage of the original MAPS in 1993. Oklahoma City two decades ago was a mess – now it’s the talk of the country.
The big details are quite challenging for anyone to address. City hall was reminded recently that budget estimates can go bad as was evidenced with bids coming in millions higher than projected for construction of the White Water venue along the Oklahoma River.
Yet a visit to the Oklahoma River is a reminder that such big risks come with huge pay-offs. Just 15 years ago the river was an ugly ditch. Now it’s a vibrant recreational venue with boathouses, zip lines, a ropes course, playground and rowing courses.
Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. took over operations in Bricktown last year and quickly ramped up events and promotions. Dead and half-dead Bradford pear trees were pulled and replaced with more drought-resistant crape myrtles.
The little details are still needing attention, however. It’s not an indictment of those responsible — just an encouragement that further delays come at a cost.