Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A foundational component of the Core to Shore project is to establish a public-space Central Park area, plans for which are still fluid, which would serve as a series of gathering and recreational spaces for all ages.
The future park area is bordered on the north by what is now Interstate 40, which will become a boulevard. The park area is bordered on the south by what is to be the realigned I-40 crosstown, on the west by Hudson Avenue and on the east by Robinson Avenue.
Although the overall plan calls for at least one large open space called the Great Lawn, the park is intended to provide users with a choice of activities, sight-lines and urban breathing spaces as well.
Attorney Michael Laird was a member of the Core to Shore steering committee and is a past president and current board member of the Myriad Gardens Foundation.
Laird said one of the key things he gleaned from consultants is that the park should not be just a massive green swath with little in the way of smaller enclaves or multi-use areas to move visitors along or direct them into specific areas they might enjoy.
"Nobody knows how they're supposed to behave in that environment," Laird said.
Real parks are vibrant, he said.
"They're organic things that live and breathe and they have multiple components to them," Laird said.
It's not a question of size, he added.
"It's how they work and how people use them and how people can read from the park itself how they're supposed to behave and what they're supposed to do in there," Laird said.
Oklahoma City Planning Director Russell Claus said it has not been determined exactly what will be in the park, which he described as "a placeholder for some of the ideas."
"It's more than green space," Claus said.
The city will hire a park planner at some point, who will be asked to review Myriad Gardens and potential changes there, "who we are as a community, what has worked elsewhere, what we can do here that would support what our current needs are, but projecting out into the future as to what future demands will be, really trying to create a signature piece of open space," Claus said.
There are multiple concepts behind the park, he added.
"One of them is to assist in providing a very clear connection down to the river," Claus said.
He also said it was felt that the Myriad Gardens was not fulfilling the function of a true urban open-space area, as a gathering area programmed for multiple activities, part of which will be resolved through a separate redevelopment of the Myriad Gardens.
"The Core to Shore park will provide more of those and give us a true urban open space that services the entire community," Claus said. "It is meant to operate as