MAPS 4 projects ready to begin after implementation plan approvedPublished: Monday, October 11, 2021 By: Chamber Staff Source: VeloCity Newsletter
It has been nearly two years since the voters of Oklahoma City overwhelmingly approved MAPS 4, an ambitious, Chamber-backed initiative that includes 16 unique projects aimed at uniting Oklahoma City residents and continuing the transformation the city has enjoyed since the original MAPS initiative was passed almost 30 years ago.
A pay-as-you-go program funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax, MAPS 4 is expected to raise almost $1 billion over eight years. More than 70 percent of MAPS 4 funding is dedicated to neighborhood and human needs. The remainder addresses quality of life and job-creating initiatives.
A major milestone for MAPS 4 was met in September when the City Council gave its approval to the MAPS 4 Implementation Plan, the roadmap or guiding document on how the city will implement or execute the program.
David Todd, the MAPS program manager for the City of Oklahoma City, said many groups and individuals have been involved in the planning process from the get-go; however, the MAPS office and program consultant ADG have been the primary entities in charge of the day-to-day responsibilities needed to get the program off the ground.
“There were a lot of people who had input into the program, including all the stakeholders, potential operators, pre-designated operators, the MAPS 4 Citizen’s Advisory Board and City Council. It wasn’t done in a vacuum by any means,” Todd said.
During his presentation before the City Council in September, ADG’s Director of Program Management Jason Cotton echoed those comments, stating that the whole process was a team effort and that a major priority was to be aggressive with the schedule.
“I would say where we started in terms of our first trial run of this program to where we are today, there is a significant difference. And a lot of that is really related to us trying to be aggressive with the program and projects, and moving them forward just as quickly as one can,” Cotton said.
“This plan is very aggressive, and we feel like it is also balanced. Of the 16 projects, there will be 14 that will start prior to the end of 2022. That is something we are really proud about in terms of putting this plan together.”
A priority in the implementation plan is to start the human needs projects as soon as possible, which does not necessarily mean construction work, according to Todd. Other steps must be completed first on most projects before construction can commence and may include such tasks as establishing operator agreements, selecting an operator, selecting an architect to design a specific project and acquiring land.
Starting the neighborhood youth centers earlier than was originally planned was a priority for the citizen’s advisory board as were other community needs and projects such as addressing homelessness, improving mental health and addiction facilities and services, building a Diversion Hub and new Family Justice Center, restoring the Freedom Center, constructing the Clara Luper Civil Rights Center and completing the fifth MAPS Senior Health and Wellness Center.
One project placed at the front of the implementation plan was the new Fairgrounds Coliseum. The new coliseum, which will replace the aging Norick Arena, will allow the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds to continue its ability to attract local, state and national events.
Another high-profile project that is expected to begin soon with identifying an operator and selecting a building site is the 8,000-seat multipurpose stadium. The $37 million stadium will host high school, college and professional sporting events, in particular soccer, as well as concerts and other similar events.
“Identifying an operator and the site selection process [for the stadium] will have to be deliberate and will take a while,” Todd said. “We are not there yet; all of that is still to be determined.”
A total of $115 million in renovations and expansions of Paycom Center, one of the original MAPS projects and home of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, will be done through four separate phases beginning this fall and ending in 2028. Planned improvements include such projects as an expanded food court, main concourse and arena entrances, Loud City and technology upgrades, and other improvements.
Something new this year that has never been done in previous MAPS initiatives is the ability for funds to be invested by a MAPS Trust to help pay for future maintenance and operating costs.
“Obviously, the sooner we can get those dollars into the hands of the Trust, the sooner those funds can be invested, the greater the financial return from those dollars and the better the City is able to support the operators of those facilities we are going to build,” said Cotton.
Now that the MAPS 4 Implementation Plan has been approved, city officials and others tasked with actually implementing the plan can begin working on projects.
“We can actually get out there now and start doing some things so people can see some results,” Todd said. MAPS has never been a fast program; it’s deliberate, and it’s transparent with a lot of people participating. It takes a while to get projects started, but once we get started, we try to stay on the roadmap and knock them out.”
To view the MAPS 4 Implementation Plan in its entirety, please visit okc.gov/government/maps-4.