MAPS ideas pour in
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
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.”