Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mayor Calls for Continued Commitment from Public

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Mayor Calls for Continued Commitment from Public

Article excerpt

Look around downtown Oklahoma City with its new 20,000-seat arena, art museum, library and baseball park, and city leaders go as far as to say the metro is witnessing its "golden age."

Oklahoma City is about one year from finishing the last of nine major redevelopment projects under the Metropolitan Area Projects sales tax program, which has transformed the city center. And city voters have approved a $500 million sales tax, billed as MAPS for Kids, to build seven schools and renovate 65 others.

With all the buzz about the development, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys urged civic and business leaders Friday not to become complacent. And he called on the public to remain focused on the future.

"One problem with success is that we lose that sense of urgency that made us successful," Humphreys said during the Mayors Development Round Table, a gathering of 280 civic leaders and citizens at the Cox Business Services Convention Center. "We need to have discipline."

The mayor is trying to bolster what has been broad support for the city's economic development projects. That is because, he said, longer-term city plans call for much more development.

The mayor said he wants the city's downtown to continue to develop new retail business and residential properties.

In the year 2020, "downtown Oklahoma City will be a 24-7 community," he said. "They (residents) will be living here, shopping here, working here, and playing here."

The mayor also said Oklahoma City should continue to encourage new hotel development, something city leaders have said is necessary to support larger convention business and tourism.

Among the new hotel developments, the mayor said the city's future includes the reopening of the now vacant 92-year-old Skirvin Hotel. The city is negotiating to buy the property from its private owners and plans to find new developers to reopen the 13-story downtown building.

In the year 2020, "the Skirvin will celebrate the 15-year anniversary of its grand reopening," the mayor said. …

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