- Miguel Rios
- Oklahoma City Council approved four special meetings to hear presentations and discuss the various proposed projects for MAPS 4.
9 a.m. various dates
Oklahoma City Hall
200 N. Walker Ave.
Palomar Family Justice Center
Sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and streetlights
State Fair coliseum
Senior wellness centers
Chesapeake Energy Arena and NBA enhancements
Other councilmembers’ projects
MAPS 4 overview
Oklahoma City residents will have opportunities to voice their opinions on MAPS 4 projects through a series of public meetings. Oklahoma City Council approved four special meetings to hear presentations and discuss specific projects.
Each meeting begins at 9 a.m. on the third floor of City Hall, 200 N. Walker Ave. Those who want to speak on specific topics must sign up at the meeting ahead of time to make sure they get time on the microphone.
“The format of the meetings would be, you probably always start with some proponent of this potential project talking about what it is,” Holt said. “So it’s going to be different people in different cases. In some cases, it might be a more external presenter; in some cases, it might be a city staff representing because it might be more internally driven. … It’ll be presentations for informational purposes and then obviously opportunities for councilmembers to ask questions and then also opportunities for members of the community to comment.”
Presenting projectsThe first meeting July 9 will include presentations on Palomar Family Justice Center; parks, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and streetlights; and Freedom Center.
Palomar provides support for victims and children who suffer from trauma due to stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault and child and elder abuse. It is seeking funds for a new facility to expand its capabilities. Officials will provide a T-shirt and bracelet to proponents who arrive at 8:45 a.m.
Councilmembers James Cooper and JoBeth Hamon will present on the topics of sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and streetlights, which have been packaged into one agenda item.
Leonard Benton, chairman of Freedom Center’s board of directors, said they are hoping MAPS 4 funds can help restore the building and provide enough money to create a new Clara Luper Civil Rights Center.
“Our architects have all of the required input they need from us. They will have prepared a package, a proposal that will be submitted,” he said. “We have about 30 minutes of which we will have some short introductory information with the majority of time given to the formal presentation of the proposal and certainly with adequate time for Q&A.”
Benton said using MAPS 4 funds to honor the legacy of Clara Luper and revitalize a historic building in northeast Oklahoma City would benefit more than just the city.
“[We want] to take it to a new level with the construction of a brand-new 8 to 10,000 square-foot Oklahoma City Clara Luper Civil Rights Center that would be designed in a manner that would be special, that it would have modern technology,” he said. “We can see school buses and kids coming from throughout the district, throughout Oklahoma. We see busloads of tourists coming to that site. We see educators and history students, students who come there to do research, to participate in the work of the center. We envision that site as being a very important destination for the people of Oklahoma City, for the state of Oklahoma, for the region and the nation.”
July 11 presentations are on youth centers, senior wellness centers, beautification, a new State Fair coliseum and a new animal shelter.
State Fair officials argue the park needs a new arena, as Jim Norick Arena continues to get more expensive to maintain. The fair’s website states a new coliseum “is expected to cost $95 million, and plans call for keeping the Norick Arena open during the process.”
Project Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS) recently sent out a press release citing “crisis conditions” at the city’s municipal animal shelter. The press release states the project would truly benefit “every neighborhood and neighbor.”
“Our municipality can do better for the animals in Oklahoma City,” said Louisa McCune, PAWS for MAPS 4 education director, in the press release. “The shelter staff and citizen volunteers are doing the best they can with what they are given to work with. But the facility we have today is inadequate for our city’s needs. … Building this new facility will be transformational for our city, its residents and our animals.”
Transit and homelessness, two topics gaining a lot of traction, are set for July 31. Holt spoke at the State of Homelessness address, where he said the city could do a lot better at addressing the issue and dealing with people experiencing homelessness. Chesapeake Energy Arena enhancements and the diversion hub will be presented the same day.
The final meeting Aug. 6 includes presentations on mental health, a multipurpose stadium and the Innovation District.
District 1 county commissioner Carrie Blumert is expected to give the presentation on mental health. Blumert began a career in public health as a behavioral therapist before working at Oklahoma City-County Health Department, where she oversaw programs related to mental health, substance abuse and nutrition.
“The entire idea is around providing a mental health and addiction treatment facility that diverts people from going to jail. I’m still hashing through what exactly it’s going to look like and which partners are going to be involved, but we do know that over half of people that interact with our jail have some sort of mental illness or substance use disorder,” she said. “I see the center as a way to bring treatment providers and other partners together to better serve people. ... I feel very confident that the voters are supportive of using their tax dollars to pay for services like this because they’re needed.”
Any other projects councilmembers might want to bring up will also be presented in the final meeting. Holt said he wanted councilmembers to have an option of bringing up other projects that might come up before Aug. 6. An overview of MAPS 4’s format, timing, revenue and design will also be presented.
“It’s really just there at that last meeting as one last chance basically,” he said. “Realistically, something has to have gotten adequate traction in the community and among the councilmembers by this point, but I didn’t want to foreclose the ability for councilmembers to feel invited to bring something forward that maybe didn’t appear in the agenda when we approved it in June.
“It shows a broad spectrum of issues that we can address through MAPS 4. I’m proud of the process; we’ve never had anything like this in the past — public meetings where projects are presented before final adoption of the plan by the council. … There should be no surprises when [the package is unveiled]; everything should have been vetted through a public meeting, and that’s what we’re doing.”
The final MAPS 4 package is expected to be finalized in early September with a special election expected in December.