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Work will proceed on Civic Center park in Oklahoma City despite questions

Construction will move forward on a makeover of downtown Oklahoma City's Civic Center park despite a split Oklahoma City Council vote and debate over whether they were properly informed about the project's timing and scope.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: February 29, 2012
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Shadid said the city was being “fleeced” with the vote for the $162,000 additional design fees sought by Elliott and PDG.

Former critics give OK

Councilman Gary Marrs, who two weeks ago was the first to blast city staff for how development of the park makeover was rushed, stayed quiet in Tuesday's debate. He previously said his patience was “wearing thin” with being repeatedly told projects can't be thoroughly deliberated and subjected to scrutiny and change due to decisions made by committees or events being staged by outside parties.

Pat Ryan, another councilman who had been critical of the project, said Tuesday most of his constituents supported the makeover after previously reporting they were unhappy with the project.

Park vs. streets

White questioned whether the council was being forthright in its concerns about the park and the city's overall implementation of Project 180, the $141 million makeover of downtown streets, sidewalks and parks funded through a tax increment financing district established with construction of Devon Energy Center.

White complained city staff never informed the council they were choosing to proceed with the park makeover, set to be completed by September, over street projects including reconstruction of E.K. Gaylord Boulevard and the completed two-way conversion of Hudson Avenue.

“We've all had reservations about it, but we're being rolled over,” White said. “By putting this project ahead, we are going to finish the streets we have now, and then we'll go back later because we changed the priority. It makes no sense.”

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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