Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

USA Canoe/Kayak Relocates Headquarters to OKC

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

USA Canoe/Kayak Relocates Headquarters to OKC

Article excerpt

The CEO of USA Canoe/Kayak has moved into the sports association's new Oklahoma City office and is anticipating a busy year in preparation for the next Olympic Games in London, he said.

This week's relocation from Charlotte, N.C., culminates plans put into play even before Oklahoma City residents voted on a $777 million MAPS 3 tax issue two years ago. That temporary 1-cent tax now being collected supports several infrastructure projects, including $60 million in improvements at the Oklahoma River south of downtown such as expanded grandstands, a new sound system, river beautification elements, permanent sports venue lighting and a whitewater course.

Joe Jacobi, a formerly competitive athlete in the sport, took up his CEO position in October 2009, just seven weeks ahead of the public MAPS 3 vote. The organization had opened its first office in Oklahoma City about the same time.

"On my first day of the job, I actually came to Oklahoma City and spent three of the next seven weeks working with the (Oklahoma City) Boathouse Foundation on the yes vote," he said. "So I had an opportunity to become familiar with this momentum very early on. ... I've been spending about a week per month on average in Oklahoma City since October 2009."

In July that year, U.S. Olympic Committee officials announced that the Oklahoma River had been chosen as an Olympic and Paralympic training site for rowing and canoe/kayak. And earlier in 2009, USA Canoe/Kayak officials attended a Devon Boathouse groundbreaking ceremony as Devon Energy started work on its sports facilities.

MAPS 3 campaign materials before the election did not specifically identify any sports organization expected to benefit from the river improvements. The ballot was even vaguer in its details, earmarking funds only for providing city capital improvements. …

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