Oklahoma City said "yes" to a dream when its citizens voted in favor of a set of initiatives that forever changed the face of our city 16 years ago. We said "yes" to a new arena, the Ford Center, that now houses Oklahoma's first professional sports team, the OKC Thunder. We said yes to a river, a new ballpark, a canal that runs through Bricktown and its assortment of restaurants, shops and living spaces, a revitalization of the state fairgrounds and the construction of an incredible downtown library.
The initiatives on the ballot now include a new set of dreams for our city: a grand downtown public park, whitewater rafting facility and miles of bicycle trails. There will be a downtown public transportation system that can be expanded later and a new convention center. We will build on our past successes and together forge a better Oklahoma City for our children and grandchildren.
The confidence and pride that have come from those first MAPS initiatives encouraged other dreamers. Mike Knopp, OCU's head rowing coach and director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, brought the idea of competitive collegiate rowing to the board of trustees of Oklahoma City University and it took off. Today we find ourselves hosting regattas that attract the best rowers in the country from schools like Harvard along with 50,000 local rowing fans.
Devon Energy is taking that dream further with the construction of the Devon Boathouse, home of OCU Rowing, which will also house a national high-performance training center for aspiring Olympic athletes. Devon has also begun construction of a tremendous tower that will redefine the downtown skyline.
Hall Capital Partners is working with OCU to move our law school into their building at the corner of Main Street and Classen Boulevard. We think the school could create an anchor for the western side of downtown Oklahoma City, forming a legal district much like the medical district that anchors downtown's eastern edge.
The original MAPS initiatives paved the way for great things in Oklahoma City and allowed us to dream even bigger. The next level of MAPS initiatives will, too. Join me and my colleagues at Oklahoma City University in voting "yes" on Tuesday.
"Tom McDaniel, Oklahoma City
McDaniel is president of Oklahoma City University and vice chairman of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Transportation Committee.