Private investments related to MAPS have already exceeded original projections, the Oklahoma City Council was told on Tuesday.
The MAPS-related investments totaled $140 million, Devery Youngblood, manager of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce's MAPS Investment Program said. In 1993, a study projected only $83 million in private investments after all nine projects were completed.
Youngblood's presentation to the council was a step in an overall goal to increase communications among the 11 organizations promoting downtown development. Organizations include the city government, the Conncourse Association, Automobile Alley, Downtown Now, and Urban Renewal. Many other cities have a single umbrella organization for this purpose, which Youngblood said makes coordination of efforts easier, but Oklahoma City's multiple organizations have deeper knowledge in more specific areas. Youngblood tried to provide the council an overview of issues concerning the Chamber's philosophy and the status of private investments. He said he will appear at council meetings once a month to provide short updates. Youngblood explained that the next step is improving communication among the organizations: He is organizing a luncheon for representatives from all 11 organizations. There will be no formal agenda for the event, he explained, but each organization will have a chance to introduce itself and explain the status of its current projects. The luncheon has not been scheduled. Youngblood explained the basic philosophy of the Chamber regarding MAPS: "We believe the true benefit to MAPS will be what we make happen in the private sector that makes the public sector improvements pay for themselves over time." "Maybe even more important than the bottom line dollar issues is the kind of city it will make us," said Youngblood. "It moves us to a different level and allows us to have a more sustained economic development over time because we are a very special city, a very special destination point." Youngblood explained why the Chamber has taken stances on two recent downtown issues -- parking and the proposed Interstate 40 project. Youngblood said the city must work to provide alternatives to parking downtown. "As of a few years ago, we were a single-use downtown accessed in a single manner with a life span of 9 to 5," said Youngblood. …