MAPS ideas pour in

The Oklahoman - - FRONT PAGE - BY WIL­LIAM CRUM Staff Writer wcrum@ok­la­homan.com

Ok­la­homa City Mayor David Holt wanted a con­ver­sa­tion, and he got one.

So­cial me­dia blazed with com­men­tary, snark and se­ri­ous sug­ges­tions af­ter Holt asked Thurs­day for ideas for MAPS 4, the next chap­ter in the cap­i­tal im­prove­ments pro­gram be­hind the city’s re­nais­sance.

In a video, Holt asked res­i­dents to sub­mit sug­ges­tions at ideas4maps. com and on so­cial me­dia with the hash­tag #ideas4maps.

Dozens of sug­ges­tions poured forth, some gen­er­at­ing their own sub­con­ver­sa­tions. Many com­menters went straight to Holt’s Face­book page, where some ap­peared to see MAPS as a fix-it for all that ails the city.

Tran­sit popped up of­ten.

Pop­u­lar: ex­tend the street­car north to Paseo, west to the Plaza, south to Capi­tol Hill. Com­muter rail. Buses. And streets. Glenn Bloom wrote on Holt’s Face­book page, “Our roads need at­ten­tion. We have had all the projects we need. End the tax, fix the roads.”

Cas­sidy Smith replied, re­peat­ing three times, “Bet­ter Streets, Safer City al­ready passed,” re­fer­ring to 2017’s vote to re­hab streets.

Holt him­self jumped in to ex­plain Bet­ter Streets, Safer City is putting nearly $800 mil­lion into street im­prove­ments over the next decade. Bloom was un­moved. “Good,” he wrote, “then end the MAPS tax.”

Suc­cess with vot­ers

Wo­ven through­out

were some truly trans­for­ma­tive ideas.

Sid Burgess had one, say­ing it is “ac­tu­ally doable and within MAPS 4’s fund­ing range.”

“The largest mu­nic­i­pal so­lar pro­ject in the world, should do,” he wrote. “Would move ev­ery build­ing in the city to re­new­able power.”

MAPS is pow­ered by a 1-cent sales tax. Vot­ers have ex­tended the tax sev­eral times since it first won ap­proval in 1993.

The orig­i­nal MAPS fi­nanced the Brick­town Canal and ball­park, the down­town arena and li­brary, and Civic Cen­ter Mu­sic Hall ren­o­va­tions.

The Big League City vote brought the arena up to NBA stan­dards and MAPS for Kids con­structed and ren­o­vated pub­lic school build­ings.

MAPS 4 would be the suc­ces­sor to MAPS 3 and MAPS for streets, the streets re­hab ini­tia­tive OK’d by for vot­ers in 2017.

To­gether they are rais­ing $1.1 bil­lion.

Ap­proved by vot­ers

in De­cem­ber 2009, and hav­ing raised more than $820 mil­lion, MAPS 3 is fi­nanc­ing the down­town con­ven­tion cen­ter, park and street­car sys­tem.

It has built trails, side­walks, se­nior health and well­ness cen­ters, an expo cen­ter at State Fair Park, and the River­sport Rapids white­wa­ter kayak­ing and raft­ing park on the Ok­la­homa River.

MAPS for streets is ex­pected to raise $240 mil­lion for street resur­fac­ing, trails and side­walks, and re­lated im­prove­ments by the time it ex­pires on April 1, 2020.

Har­mony Ta­maale­vea said on Twit­ter that MAPS 4 ought to high­light black cul­ture in the ur­ban core.

“Many black mil­len­ni­als don’t de­sire to stay in Ok­la­homa sim­ply be­cause we don’t phys­i­cally see our­selves in thriv­ing spaces here,” she wrote.

Re­flect the city

Harper McCarn ad­vo­cated

for a YMCA on S Western Av­enue. South­side kids “are lost when school’s out for sum­mer,” she said.

“I think some ed­u­ca­tion ideas and hu­man ser­vices need to be put in since they are both ex­tremely im­por­tant to the health of our city,” wrote Brian Werk­man.

“As­sis­tance to teach­ers, class­room needs, and build­ing cap­i­tal,” he said. “Find ways to sub­si­dize (Ur­ban Re­newal Au­thor­ity) land for work­force hous­ing or shel­ters.”

Holt ac­knowl­edged Fri­day there is “some­times a ten­dency to speak of MAPS like it’s a ge­nie that can ad­dress all chal­lenges at all lev­els of gov­ern­ment, in the pri­vate sec­tor, and in so­ci­ety at large.”

“But that’s okay,” he said by text. “It’s our job to sort it all out.”

Holt said the con­fi­dence ex­pressed on so­cial me­dia is “a nice val­i­da­tion of the pro­gram’s suc­cess­ful track record.”

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