Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Visitors Bureau Caught in Political Squeeze

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Visitors Bureau Caught in Political Squeeze

Article excerpt

It seems local politics can never be separated from the selling of Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, responsible for attracting national conventions and trade shows, is caught in the squeeze.

A south-side Oklahoma City councilman is holding up the previously routine approval of the bureau's $2.4 million annual contract with the city so that he can squeeze the group and the city manager. Why? Because Ward 5 Councilman Jerry Foshee wants to construct another visitors bureau, but he wants it on the south side. Foshee is rumored to be attracted to the mayor's chair, and with the mayoral election set for March 1998. Bureau officials won't say so publicly, but they're a little miffed that Foshee is playing politics with their deal. The city manager's office says privately they're finding the money to construct a $126,000 south-side bureau, but will likely have to dip into the city's savings account to do so. During budget negotiations in late June, Foshee made a formal request for the funding to construct the center. Loans for downtown spaces The Oklahoma City Council today will consider using part of the $39 million CDBG funding given to Oklahoma City in the wake of the bombing for two loans relating to downtown properties. The first loan would be made to Park Place Leasing, which is requesting $94,500 from the city to purchase and renovate the building at 24 W. Park Place. The group would combine the city's portion with $220,500 from a bank group to do the deal. The second loan would be to McAtee & Molinsky Leasing to purchase the building at 410 NW 13th St. The city's portion of this loan would be $36,450, while the bank group would allocate $85,050. In both loans, the applicants are required to put up 10 percent of their own equity. Cutting down on accidents The Oklahoma City Police Department will implement a RAAID plan to cut down the number of area accidents. …

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