If you have been around Oklahoma City for long, chances are you have heard about the Metropolitan Area Projects and how they have transformed Oklahoma City into the vibrant hub that it is today (we confess that it is one of our favorite topics). Right now, construction is underway on several of the eight MAPS 3 projects that voters approved in 2009. Read on for an update on the progress that is moving Oklahoma City forward.
MAPS 3 Trails
Because of MAPS 3, Oklahoma City is becoming better connected and healthier through the addition of three trails to the Oklahoma City trails system. The MAPS 3’s Will Rogers Trail opened in March and it connects Lake Hefner with the Oklahoma River – that’s 8.1 miles added to the trail system, and all but two blocks are protected for pedestrians and cyclists.
Also in March, city officials broke ground on the MAPS 3 Lake Draper Trail, which circles Lake Stanley Draper with a 13-mile path. The $12.6 million trail is expected to be completed this fall. The Lake Draper and Will Rogers trails join the 7.5-mile West River Trail, which was completed in 2015, in connecting thousands of residents, workers, shoppers and visitors to the growing Oklahoma City trails system.
Oklahoma City Streetcar
Have you noticed all the construction in downtown Oklahoma City? While it may be inconvenient now, those growing pains are leading to the completion of the MAPS 3 Oklahoma City Streetcar, the future of public transit in Oklahoma City. The first streetcar was delivered to Oklahoma City in February and testing has already begun on the completed rails. Want to see the streetcar for yourself? The public is invited to the MAPS 3 OKC Streetcar open house on March 30. The first 300 people get a free streetcar t-shirt at the event, which runs 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the OKC Streetcar Storage and Maintenance Facility at Southwest Seventh Street and Hudson Avenue.
Oklahoma City Convention Center
Conventions and events are big business in Oklahoma City. In fact, the hospitality industry is the third-largest in our region – and it’s growing. A big part of that growth is the MAPS 3 Downtown Oklahoma City Convention Center, which will replace the aging Cox Convention Center.
The new convention center and its adjacent headquarters hotel will allow Oklahoma City to compete for 80 percent or more of the events held in the United States, further developing the region’s hospitality industry. The $277 million center, which is projected to open in 2020, will feature nearly 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 30,000-square-foot ballroom and 45,000 square feet of additional meeting space. Oklahoma City Council has approved designs and opened the bidding process for construction is open, with the groundbreaking scheduled for later this year.
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