In case you hit the snooze button and missed any of the May 19 Oklahoma City Council meeting, a new convention center proposal is high on Mayor Mick Cornett's wish list for MAPS 3, Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman said. And the Mayor's Development Roundtable was largely devoted to discussing a hotel-convention center idea on May 13.
Bowman said Mayor Mick has publicly and privately championed the new convention center concept, which was endorsed by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce earlier this year. But Bowman urged the council to consider transportation in MAPS 3.
"If we as a council decide to move forward without losing any momentum on the MAPS 3 initiative "¦ the reaction that I think we're allowing ourselves to be put in "¦ are front-page articles on a new canal project for MAPS 3, a river development for MAPS 3, a fairgrounds proposal for MAPS 3, and we're sitting here as a council " at best " at this point reacting to public propositions put forward," Bowman said.
When citizens were asked to suggest MAPS 3 initiatives, a mega hotel-convention center didn't top the list. "Transit (light rail, streetcars, etc.)" led the way with 668 recommendations. "Infrastructure, Including Streets" placed second with 188 votes and "Trails" finished third with 140 tallies. A "New Convention Center" received 40 votes, according to OKC's official MAPS 3 Web site.
Bowman did not reference a wind-powered downtown streetcar proposal, which was reported in the May 13 Oklahoma Gazette.
"Mass trans has been on the lips of all of us " certainly on the mayor's " as something to consider," Bowman told the council.
"With the Fixed Guideway Study "¦ being completed more than two years ago, we have not had any presentations, we have not had any work sessions on mass trans, yet that continues to surface as if it was something we all understood and all we have to do is bring it to a vote of the council. I think if we're going to move forward, that particular item needs to be before us in terms of some presentations, in terms of some workshops."
Then Bowman made a second point.
"If we're going to move forward with MAPS 3, we've got to begin as a council "¦ to get "¦ our arms around where (we're) wanting to see things go versus reacting to another front-page story of another wonderful idea that we're seeing just about every week," he said.
"We certainly have a MAPS 3 high-profile convention center before all of us "¦ but that's been the extent of my public involvement in terms of looking at an initiative that's just months away if we're going to put something together."