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Another transformative year
The beginning of a new year is a perennial opportunity to celebrate past accomplishments and look ahead to upcoming projects. Thanks to Oklahoma City residents, our city has several reasons to do both.
The end of 2017 marked the sunset of the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax collection. The initiative ended with more than $22 million in collections over and above the original $777 target thanks to sound and fiscally conservative estimates. The MAPS 3 Citizens’ Advisory Board will recommend, and the City Council will ultimately determine how the remaining funds will be used. By City Council policy, the funds must go to the approved MAPS 3 projects.
In 2018 we will see further development of several of the large MAPS 3 projects, particularly the beginning of the construction of the new convention center and the completion of construction and beginning of service of the Oklahoma City Streetcar. Last summer, the city broke ground on the north section of Scissortail Park and soon we will begin to see development surrounding the park.
Construction will also begin in 2018 on the 600-room Omni Hotel, which will be directly south of Chesapeake Energy Arena and directly east of Scissortail Park. This beautiful hotel will serve tourists, convention-goers and residents alike.
Oklahoma City will elect a new mayor in 2018. Mayor Mick Cornett is the first mayor in the city’s history to serve four terms, and is currently the longest-serving mayor among the 50 largest cities in the country. His legacy will include the passage of MAPS 3 and the transformative projects the program is bringing to our city. We look forward to working with a new mayor as we continue the development of these projects and supporting projects.
The progress of Oklahoma City can be directly tied to what the residents of Oklahoma City want our city to be. We have voted consistently in favor of supporting basic infrastructure, to ensure services operate efficiently. But beyond that, we have voted for our aspirations and dreams for the city. Reflecting on the past, it is easy to see how we have made our city more attractive, more interesting and more fun by supporting projects that improve our quality of life and enrich our culture.
Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.