A long time ago in a land far far away . . . wait, no. Let’s start again. A little ways back (in the late 1980s and early 1990s to be more exact), things weren’t looking so bright in OKC. The exuberance and awesomeness that exudes from this great city today were just wishes in a well. The region had lost a large number of jobs with the oil bust of the 80s and not being chosen for the United Airlines maintenance facility in 1991 had folks feeling blue.
Thankfully, a group of visionaries put their heads together and came up with a plan called the Metropolitan Area Projects (or MAPS). While we’ve written about it in detail before, this time we’re going to focus on just one project – the Bricktown Canal, you know, the waterway that lines restaurants and shops in OKC’s hoppin’ entertainment district. It’s probably just as hard for us to imagine it not existing as it was for people to ever imagine its existence before MAPS. Back then (before 1999), the area where the canal flows was California Street running through a mostly abandoned warehouse district.
Lucky for us, Oklahoma City has a history of visionary leaders and they saw the potential. They transformed what was bordering on nothing to a really special something. Very few visitors make it to our city without taking a stroll down the canal (or hopping a ride on a Bricktown Water Taxi. And residents experience it year-round, perhaps on their way to a ball game at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, maybe before popping the big question or during a night on the town. Any way you look at it, the canal played a major role in cementing Bricktown as OKC’s entertainment district which had a major hand in our modern-day renaissance.