Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Trust Shuns MAPS-Related Bonds

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Trust Shuns MAPS-Related Bonds

Article excerpt

While the Oklahoma City Council approved plans Tuesday to add millions more to the MAPS-funded Myriad renovations, another key city body delayed approval of a related bond plan.

The bonds would be used to build a $1.7 million Bricktown parking lot and two skywalks linking the proposed Westin Hotel with the Santa Fe Parking Garage and the Myriad itself.

The proposed bond plan is structured to allow for the construction of a $10 million parking garage for the planned indoor sports arena to be built with MAPS money. The proposed parking lot and the skywalks are key pieces of the $300 million Metropolitan Area Projects. The parking lot is critical to the future development of Bricktown and the skywalks are important to the proposed $40 million Westin Hotel, which city leaders lured here with the promised connections. The plan to build the improvements was developed by city staff and under it, the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority would refund about $33 million in current bonds through the issuance of a new $43 million bond issue. The sticking point is the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, which currently provides security for COTPA's debt. What this means in laymen's terms is that if COTPA misses a bond payment, the water trust is responsible for making up the payment through the revenues generated by water and sewer fees paid by Oklahoma City residents. Water Trust members balked at approving the additional bond issue Tuesday and said they were concerned that if the City Council withdrew its annual $6 million COTPA subsidy, then the bondholders would turn to the Water Trust for payment. The Oklahoma City Council was to have voted on the measure prior to the Water Trust meeting, but officials withdrew the measure in order to let the trust consider it. COTPA's board meets on Friday and was also to consider the move, but officials on both boards said that will also be delayed. …

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