Oklahoma roundup, 2010/08/29

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Some links around the Oklahoma blogosphere:

Brit Gal in the USA is now an American gal in the USA. Congratulations, Sarah! In an earlier blog entry, she writes about her emotions in the days leading up to the citizenship ceremony. And despite living in western Oklahoma for nearly five years, there are aspects of life here that she finds exotic.

Laurel Kane, owner of Afton Station on Route 66, had a surprise visit from a local car collector who also happens to be a country music legend.

A sports promoter wants to bring a LeMans Grand Prix race to the streets of downtown Oklahoma City, and Mayor Mick Cornett is all a-flutter with the prospect, despite a city staff finding that street Grand Prix racing in the US has "a documented record of poor sustainability." In a sidebar, Oklahoman reporter Steve Lackmeyer notes a potential conflict between city plans to improve the downtown pedestrian experience and the requirements of a high-speed race.

A report by the city's special projects manager, Tom Anderson, advises city leaders may have to decide between Project 180 and the race as part of their deliberation. The course would likely require elimination of medians along E.K. Gaylord between Reno and NW 4 and Robinson between Reno and Robert S. Kerr. Such medians were strongly recommended as a means to make downtown friendlier for pedestrians in a report compiled last year by consultant Jeff Speck.

And on his OKC Central blog, Lackmeyer writes about controversy over the location of Oklahoma City's proposed new convention center, which will be funded by the MAPS 3 tax. What's notable is that OKCitians who had a great deal of confidence in the city's handling of previous MAPS programs are starting to get some heartburn over the lack of transparency this time around.

In the comments, Doug Loudenback links to a Scott Cooper story in the latest Oklahoma Gazette on the convention center controversy and the surprise discovery that there is $30 million in the MAPS 3 convention center budget to relocate an electric company substation:

While the situation with the substation was known before MAPS 3 was put together during Core to Shore, the mayor said the estimated cost -- $30 million -- was not calculated until days before calling the election.

"The issue was, do we take that $30-million figure and create sort of a ninth initiative? In other words, do we have an OG&E initiative as part of it?" Cornett said. "That didn't seem to fall in line with what we had done with MAPS or MAPS for Kids. Because the convention center -- or more specifically, the convention center hotel according to the Core to Shore plan -- might sit on that site, I made the decision to put that into the convention center budget and increase it from $250 million to $280 million."

The mayor said he informed the City Council and the chamber of his decision and built a consensus for the proposal.

But the $30 million for the substation can't be found in any MAPS 3 campaign literature. Very little public discussion occurred on the matter, leaving the public in the dark.

The Gazette story has links to two studies (by Urban Land Institute and HOK) that make recommendations for the convention center location which are at odds with Cornett's apparent preference.

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1 Comments

Thanks for the shout out Michael and the congrats, they are appreciated. A couple of weeks later it still feels wierd to think of myself as American too, but I'm happy I went ahead!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 29, 2010 12:37 AM.

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