By now, you may have heard about a little (or not so little) initiative called MAPS 3. Why MAPS 3? Well, it all started back in 1993 when Oklahoma City voters approved a one-cent sales tax for the Metropolitan Area Projects (hence the "MAPS") which revitalized downtown. This original MAPS was responsible for the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark where the RedHawks play, the Bricktown Canal, the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and much more. After the astounding success of the original MAPS, Oklahoma City voters decided to do something about the needs of the city's public schools by approving MAPS for Kids. The funds raised from this measure (combined with a school bond issue) raised nearly $700 million to fund school facility improvements, technology and transportation projects. Fast forward nearly 20 years and we landed in 2009, when voters once again decided it was time to beef up what our city had to offer with the passage of MAPS 3.
This year marks the kick-off of construction on the $777 million worth of MAPS 3 projects. Over the next decade, we'll build a new convention center; improve the Oklahoma River, including adding a public whitewater rafting and kayaking center; build a 70-acre downtown park linking the Oklahoma River to downtown; build a modern streetcar system; add dozens of miles of sidewalks and bicycling and walking trails; upgrade Oklahoma State Fair Park and build a number of senior health and wellness aquatics centers.
It's easy to stay up-to-date on what's happening with MAPS 3. The City is launching a MAPS 3 newsletter to keep residents informed about upcoming community meetings, groundbreakings and other progress. Speaking of community meetings, there's one coming up – Thursday, Sept. 13, at the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library in the fourth floor auditorium from 6 to 8:30 p.m. At this meeting, you'll have the opportunity to get information and solicit design and programming ideas for the 70-acre downtown park.