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.
Mayor Mick Cornett used his State of the City address Thursday to talk about MAPS 3, praise the city's economy and reflect on the year in which we became a big-league town.
Cornett, speaking at the Cox Convention Center, said the city needs to reach a consensus by the end of the summer on whether to go forward with MAPS 3.
He also laid out some of the projects that would likely be included - improved public transit, a large downtown park and a new convention center.
Cornett said the community will have to decide whether it's ready for another MAPS proposal right away or whether it wants to wait. A tax that is paying to improve the Ford Center will be collected until March 31, 2010. A MAPS 3 tax could begin then, leaving the sales tax the same.
"All indications are that the vast majority of people in this community want to go forward," he said. "But exactly when we move forward is less clear, and that's the conversation we'll be having."
Cornett talked at length about the resiliency of the city's economy, which hasn't felt the same strain as most U.S. cities during the current recession.
The city was named last year by Forbes magazine as the most recession-proof city in the nation.
Previous successes like MAPS are part of the reason, Cornett said.
"Virtually every other city in the United States is having to make changes," Cornett said. "They are lowering their services, they are lowering their standards, they are lowering their expectations. We're not them."