Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Humphreys Is Next Batter Up for MAPS

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Humphreys Is Next Batter Up for MAPS

Article excerpt

Former Mayor Ron Norick will throw out the first pitch tonight at the Oklahoma RedHawks inaugural home game in the MAPS ballpark, but it's new Mayor Kirk Humphreys who must ensure a home run for the rest of the MAPS projects.

Finishing all of the MAPS projects is his top priority, Humphreys said, followed by fighting crime and revitalizing the inner city. The real estate developer was sworn in for a four-year term Tuesday.

"I'll be the guy who either gets blamed for messing MAPS up worse than it was," Humphreys acknowledged, "or, if everything goes well, I'll get credit for things I don't even deserve." Three-term mayor Norick conceived of the MAPS projects as a way to raise the city's visibility, draw tourism and attract jobs. City voters approved the five-year, 1-cent MAPS sales tax in December 1993, but repeated delays and cost overruns pushed back the completion of the first major project, the Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark, by a full baseball season. The remaining projects are slated to be complete by the end of 2000, except for a project to build dams and lakes on the North Canadian River. A time line for that project has not been set. The new mayor is committed to completing all nine projects, despite a financial report by City Manager Glenn Deck that says the more than $300 million program may come up short $20 million or more. Humphreys said he will work with Deck to create a funding plan for the shortfall. "I said during the campaign that I'm in favor of bringing in an outside consultant to look at our figures," Humphreys said. "The reason I would advocate bringing in an outsider is, if we're going to have to go out for more money, I think we're going to have to get good, hard figures." He also wants to take a closer look at the process of making MAPS decisions. Currently, city staff present information to the 21-member MAPS Citizens Oversight Board. …

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