Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

More for Core to Shore: OKC Council Expands Redevelopment Boundaries

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

More for Core to Shore: OKC Council Expands Redevelopment Boundaries

Article excerpt

The Oklahoma City Council expanded the boundaries of the Core to Shore redevelopment area downtown Tuesday to allow for more property acquisition through the Urban Renewal Authority if necessary.

In a 6-3 vote, the council split on the philosophical question of how much control a government body should have over free market forces. Council members James Greiner, Ed Shadid and Pete White said the City Council was reaching beyond the authority necessary to ensure healthy development.

Cathy O'Connor, president and CEO of the Alliance of Economic Development of Oklahoma City, said developers have revealed their interest in tracts around the planned 77-acre central park, and some property owners have already expressed an interest in selling.

"Typically we work very closely with private property owners to market and develop the properties as they will," O'Connor said. "The area is so important to the city, especially the areas adjacent to the park, that we want to make sure we get the kind of development we want and have some way of controlling it. ... Acquiring property is the strongest tool we have."

The Core to Shore renewal plan was adopted by City Hall in early 2010. The idea was to take more than 700 acres of land made available by the realignment of Interstate 40 and create a vibrant zone of activity for city residents with retail, residential, entertainment and mixed-use development along a new main boulevard and park. The MAPS 3 temporary tax issue was later approved by residents to help pay for many of the public amenities in the plan. It could cost $3.3 million a year to operate the park.

The first amendment to the plan in late 2012 changed the boundaries of the Urban Renewal area to allow for a new downtown convention center. The amendment proposed Tuesday doesn't change that outline, which runs from Lincoln Boulevard at the east to as far as Western Avenue to the west, and from the Oklahoma River as far north as Sheridan Avenue. But it does authorize Urban Renewal to acquire properties and enter into contracts with other owners. The new acquisition zones are to the northwest of the planned park and along the eastern side of the park. …

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