Still, it doesn’t change the fact that OKC voted for MAPS 3 as a whole, not piecemeal. Yes, occasionally, we do need course corrections to accommodate changing needs when planning long-term. For example, Core to Shore adjustments were made after the completion of improvements to the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Like an aircraft altering its course to get to its destination, we, too, need to alter ours — but still we must get our passengers to the destination we promised. I followed the MAPS 3 campaign closely and was well aware that the convention center would need a convention hotel. To claim not to know that would be an admission of apathy, or admission of a choice not to know.
Through MAPS and its influence, we have a downtown ballpark, arena and canal; a new library; downtown hotels that generate revenue for the entire city; new businesses downtown; a river that is home to Olympic champions and a thriving NBA team.
Thanks to the vision held by former mayors Ron Norick and Kirk Humphreys and current Mayor Mick Cornett, we have a downtown. They didn’t talk about why it wouldn’t work. They made it work. All of these remarkable entities will help us build the walkable destinations and quality-of-life improvements. Without them, we have no destinations to which to walk.
Walk around the Skirvin Hilton Hotel and envision a parking lot. Walk along the Bricktown canal and see a potholed California Street. Walk around the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and see a dusty field. Walk around the Oklahoma River and envision someone mowing it rather than rowing in it. Walk around the Devon tower and envision nothing. Walk around any of those without MAPS and you walk either without sidewalks or on very poor ones.
We need leaders with vision! Shadid’s approach reminds me of the three bricklayers. The first bricklayer was asked what he was doing, and he responded, “Can’t you see? I’m stacking these bricks!” The second bricklayer was asked what he was doing, and he said, “Can’t you see? I am building a wall.” The third bricklayer was asked the same, and he dusted his hands, stood up, smiled and said, “Can’t you see? I’m building a cathedral!” Which bricklayer do we want to be?
Which one do we want leading us?
—Harold Patterson Oklahoma City