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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Streetcar celebration

OKC Streetcar

Mark Dec. 14 on your calendars because it will be a historic day for our city as the Oklahoma City Streetcar officially opens for business. The celebration will start at 10 a.m. in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City at the Business District Platform in the plaza of Leadership Square.

The grand opening weekend will be full of live entertainment, special promotions and family activities. Also don’t forget that the streetcar will be free through January 5! You can read more about the special grand opening events here.

The modern streetcar system was approved by voters in 2009 as part of the MAPS 3 package. As of now the streetcar is scheduled for 17 hours of service daily Monday through Thursday (7 a.m. to 12 a.m.) and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday nights. Service will run on Sundays for special events like Thunder games and conventions. There are two “loops” or streetcar routes. The main Downtown Loop, or “D Line,” is 4.86 miles long and will service all 22 stops and carry passengers through five downtown districts. The Bricktown Loop (“B Line”) is 2.04 miles long, will only service the southern portion of the route, and will run on Saturdays and during special events.

MAPS, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Here’s what you missed on VeloCity in October

Downtown OKC Skyline [Photo Credit: Justin Coleman]

VeloCity is a website aimed at helping keep the citizens of Greater Oklahoma City informed. That means you … yes, you. Whether you have lived in the metro for 30 years or 30 minutes it is important that you are informed and engaged with your community. If you haven’t checked out the new site here are some stories you may have missed last month:

  • Streetcar success: While the streetcar is still a month away from opening, OKC is already seeing its impact according to a new report.
  • Innovation District update: The Innovation District is a big part of OKC’s future. Get an update on the plans for the area.
  • Omni groundbreaking: The Omni broke ground and it is one of the most anticipated projects happening in OKC right now.
  • Unemployment rate: Oklahoma City saw its lowest unemployment rate in more than a decade.
Innovation District, jobs, MAPS, velocity
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A river’s rise

Riversport Rapids whitewater rafting

In many ways, the story of the Oklahoma River and the modern-day renaissance of Oklahoma City go hand-in-hand. The river and Oklahoma City had many ups and downs during their first century before the original MAPS program jumpstarted an unprecedented rebirth for both.

To help tell that story, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber launched a storytelling feature on www.greateroklahomacity.com/river depicting the rise of Oklahoma City’s river.

“A River’s Rise” walks the reader through the history of the Oklahoma River from the Land Run of 1889 to today. Each of the six chapters cover an important aspect of the river’s renovation, from its roots as an important water source for early settlers and a venue for entertainment offerings like Delmar Gardens at the turn of the 20th century, to the more recent addition of the RIVERSPORT Rapids Whitewater Center and hosting the 2016 Olympic trials for whitewater kayaking.

Each chapter of the story offers the chance to engage with more contextual content, with links to news archives about Oklahoma City’s hosting of the Olympic Festival of 1989 and videos capturing the original vision for the boathouses that now dot the banks of the Oklahoma River, all to tell Oklahoma City’s story more fully.

So check out “A River’s Rise” and be sure to share it with you friends and family.

Boathouse District, MAPS, Oklahoma River, publication, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Mapping our way to the future

Chesapeake Energy Arena

The OKC Streetcar is set to begin normal operations in December. The new, state of the art convention center is due to open doors in 2020. We stand in an era of unprecedented growth, but new residents may not know how the decisions of Oklahoma City voters led us to this path.

Our remarkable productivity today was born after Oklahoma City experienced an energy downturn in the late ‘70s and ‘80s. Hungry for a way to boost economic development and reinvestment, Oklahoma City Mayor Ronald Norick proposed the Metropolitan Area Projects, a capital improvement program to be funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax. MAPS was comprised of the following projects:

  • Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark - Finished in 1998, the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark was the first major project of MAPS and served as the first testament to Oklahoma City’s renaissance and its close ties to the past.
  • Improvements to the State Fairgrounds – The State Fairgrounds received a new livestock show facility, horse barns, and several other necessary renovations by this project’s completion in 1998.
  • Creation of the Bricktown Canal – Completed in 1999 and improved in 2003 and 2004, the Bricktown Canal served as the first bridge to take back Bricktown from years of vacancy and crime. Now, the canal and the district are one of OKC’s main attractions.
  • Creation of the Myriad (now Cox) Convention Center – Home to countless shows, exhibitions, graduations, and other events, the Cox Convention Center has been a hub for state and nationwide activity since its opening in 1999.
  • Creation of the Spirit Trolley System – Predecessor to Oklahoma City’s growing public transit sector, the Spirit Trolley service began in 1999 and served the city for 11 years.
  • Improvements to the Civic Center Music Hall – Home to the OKC Phil, the Lyric Theatre and others, the Civic Center was renovated in 2001. Stage advancements, a five-story atrium, and acoustic improvements were among other renovations.
  • Creation of the Ford Center (now the Chesapeake Energy Arena) – Constructed in 2002 and considered the beating heart of Oklahoma City, the Chesapeake Energy Center is the home of the OKC Thunder and serves as one of the largest musical venues in the southern United States.
  • Creation of the Oklahoma River Recreational Area – MAPS turned a seven-mile span of the North Canadian River into a series of river lakes for public use. Construction of the dam system, trails, landscaping, and other amenities finished in 2004.
  • Creation of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library – The four-story library includes classrooms and a conference center, and is a part of the Metropolitan Library System. It was named for Mayor Norick upon its completion in 2004, marking the end of MAPS.

The first Metropolitan Area Projects differentiated from other improvements programs by funding projects debt free. As a result, MAPS and its successor programs, MAPS For Kids and MAPS 3, are model success stories that have spurred faster – and more fiscally responsible – investments than most cities throughout the U.S.

MAPS was a simple idea with a big impact, and it speaks as a testament to the ideals of Oklahoma City residents. When faced with crisis, we reinvent; when faced with a cause, we give; when faced with a quandary, we climb our way out. The Yes to MAPS campaign slogan in 1994 was “Believe in Our Future!”, and it seems like Oklahoma City residents believe more now than they ever have.

You can find out more about the history of MAPS, including interviews from prominent figures in OKC, at the City of Oklahoma City MAPS site here.

baseball, Bricktown, library, MAPS, Oklahoma River, State Fair Park
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Education foundation

kids learning at school

In November 2001, the MAPS for Kids program was established when Oklahoma City voters approved a new tax to fund public schools. The seven year temporary sales tax, combined with a $180 million bond issue, raised $700 million to fund transportation, technology and construction projects for the benefit of Oklahoma City’s public school students.

With many of the larger construction projects complete, work continues at some schools throughout Oklahoma City. When the program comes to a close, more than 70 new and renovated schools totaling $470 million in construction will be completed.

MAPS for Kids also provided funding for 23 suburban school districts that serve Oklahoma City resident students. When the program ends, nearly $153 million in city sales tax will have been expended for over 400 projects in these 23 suburban school districts.

Like other MAPS projects, MAPS for Kids has played a fundamental part in improving the daily lives of Oklahoma City residents. By investing in Oklahoma City student’s schools and programs, MAPS for Kids has also invested in the future of Oklahoma City.

education, MAPS, school
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



MAPS 3 Update

Streetcar

The huge success of previous MAPS projects led to a vote in late 2009 that approved of a one-cent sales tax to pay for debt-free projects that improve our quality of life. MAPS 3 consists of eight different projects; several of the projects have been completed, and the last project is scheduled to be complete in 2021.

  • The MAPS 3 Convention Center to replace the current aging convention center is located directly south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. This new center will help the city stay competitive in the lucrative convention industry for years to come. A 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 45,000-square-foot meeting space and 30,000-square-foot ballroom are all included in the $288 million budget for the convention center. Construction is underway on this cornerstone of the ongoing Core-to-Shore renaissance in downtown OKC, and it is expected to open by June 2020.
  • Construction is also underway to the immediate west of the new convention center for a 70-acre urban oasis christened Scissortail Park. Design plans for the park call for everything from a café and sports facilities to a lake and nature trails. Scissortail features two sections, a 40-acre north section scheduled for completion in 2019 and a 30-acre south section projected to be complete in 2021.
  • In a transformative moment for public transit in OKC, a budget of $131 million is being put towards linking major employers, businesses, attractions and residences in the downtown area. Construction for the modern streetcar transit system can be seen at a number of route sections along with safety testing at others in preparation for the streetcar service to begin this December. The streetcar project will connect Midtown, Automobile Alley, Bricktown and the Business District.
  • The State Fairgrounds hosts more than 200 trade shows and other events throughout the year, including several equine events that helped Oklahoma City earn the title of Horse Show Capital of the World. MAPS 3 added to the appeal of Oklahoma State Fairgrounds with the Bennett Event Center. Its design makes for a state-of-the-art flexible facility capable of comfortably accommodating a wide variety of shows and events. The 279,000-square-foot event center was completed in 2017 and its operations are in full swing.
  • Senior Health & Wellness Centers will connect OKC’s seniors with important services and also with each other. Two of the four planned centers are completed, with the third to be completed in 2019 and fourth in 2021. The centers will be spread around the city and have experienced operating partners in senior services.
  • The Oklahoma River has become an Olympic rowing destination, so MAPS 3 expanded on current operations by building the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater rafting and kayaking center along the river with additional improvements to existing rowing facilities. The whitewater park is suitable for beginners enjoying a summer weekend or elite kayaking competitions.
  • Former Mayor Mick Cornett emphasized a healthier community during his tenure and the MAPS 3 trails and sidewalk improvements promote a more active lifestyle by taking advantage of OKC’s natural beauty. Three trails were developed using MAPS funds: West River Trail was completed in 2015, Will Rogers Trail was completed earlier this year and Lake Draper Trail is set to be complete this fall. The trails wind through wetlands, wooded areas, natural landscapes, neighborhoods and more urban settings. MAPS 3 sidewalks are planned for the areas with a high demand for pedestrian amenities.

Stay up to date on all MAPS 3 news by signing up for the MAPS 3 newsletter or following the efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

community, downtown, MAPS, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, public transportation, State Fair Park, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Coming “rail” soon

Streetcar Testing

If you’ve spent anytime near downtown recently you know that something big is happening. That something big is the OKC Streetcar and we are just months away from launch day. That is right, this December you will be able to ride the OKC Streetcar throughout downtown.

The Oklahoma City Streetcar will include five cars, each circulating to 22 stops along 4.8 miles of track, with an average time of 12 to 14 minutes between cars. Each car can carry 104 passengers through two main loops: a Bricktown loop and a Midtown-Business District-Automobile Alley cross-sectional. You can view a map of the routes here.

The streetcar will be an affordable, accessible, convenient alternative for office commuters, convention attendees, tourists and others visiting our great city. A single trip will cost $1, and a day pass will be $3. Monthly passes will be $32 and an annual pass will cost $384.

As of the beginning of July, 87 percent of track had been placed and 78 percent of stops had been completed. Six streetcars are currently in the maintenance facility with a seventh arriving at the end of October. Streetcar operation testing on the Bricktown loop is currently underway.

Construction and adjustment is still ongoing in several locations. Specific road and lane closures through Sept. 1 can be found in this report from the City of Oklahoma City MAPS 3 site. General information for the OKC Streetcar can be found on the EMBARK Streetcar page or on the City of Oklahoma City’s MAPS 3 Streetcar page.

You wanted it, you paid for it and now it’s time you got it. Keep your eyes on December: the OKC Streetcar is coming rail soon.

Bricktown, downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, June 26, 2018

OKC in 2020

We know we talk about the future of Oklahoma City a lot … like a ton. We just can’t help it. We’re excited because the next couple of years are going to take our beloved OKC to another level. With dirt now moving at the Downtown Park and Conventions Center, plus the streetcar being tested, big changes are coming to OKC. But words are just words. Even though we think we can spin a good yarn the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words rings pretty true. But if a picture is worth a thousand words how many words is a video of what downtown will look like in 2020 worth?

MAPS
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

MAPS 3 projects are making progress

MAPS3 Streetcar delivery

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.

Can’t get enough of the debt-free public projects that are transforming Oklahoma City? Sign up for the MAPS 3 newsletter

cycling, MAPS, outdoor recreation, public transportation, running, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Will Rogers Trail

Will Rogers Trail Grand Opening

Over the past decade, Oklahoma City has invested heavily in its trails system in an effort to remake the city and promote more healthy living.

Oklahoma City’s first neighborhood trail opened in March as civic leaders cut the ribbon on the  MAPS 3’s Will Rogers Trail. As the second of three trails funded by MAPS 3, Will Rogers Trail connects Lake Hefner with the Oklahoma River. The final of three MAPS 3-funded trails, at Lake Stanley Draper, broke ground this month.

Outside of the newest additions to the trail system, Oklahoma City has many options throughout the metro that residents can choose from when looking for a nice exercise trail. The trail system of OKC currently has 10 intertwined trails stretching across the majority of the city. These trails include the Bert Cooper Trails, Earlywine Trail, Hefner-Overholser Trail, Katy Trail, Lightning Creek Trail, Overholser Trail, South Grand Trail, Tinker-Draper Trail and the West River Trail. Recreational activities abound around each of these trails, so the options are endless. The Bert Cooper Trails are located along Lake Hefner with easy access to the restaurants along the East Wharf, fishing docks, Stars & Stripes Park and the Lake Hefner Golf Course. The Overholser Trail is another trail with fun amenities including kayak and canoe rentals, a café, and even zip lines. If you are feeling really adventurous and sporty we recommend the Oklahoma River Trails. You can run and bike along the river and stop at OKC’s famed Boathouse District and grab a canoe or kayak. No matter your interests, Oklahoma City’s expanding trail system will give you a way to enjoy the great outdoors.

cycling, MAPS, outdoor recreation, running
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A River’s Rise

OKC Whitewater Rapids

In many ways, the story of the Oklahoma River and the modern-day renaissance of Oklahoma City go hand-in-hand. The river and Oklahoma City had many ups and downs during their first century before the original MAPS program jumpstarted an unprecedented rebirth for both.

To help tell that story, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber launched a storytelling feature on www.greateroklahomacity.com/river depicting the rise of Oklahoma City’s river.

“A River’s Rise” walks the reader through the history of the Oklahoma River from the Land Run of 1889 to today. Each of the six chapters cover an important aspect of the river’s renovation, from its roots as an important water source for early settlers and a venue for entertainment offerings like Delmar Gardens at the turn of the 20th Century, to the more recent addition of the RIVERSPORT Rapids Whitewater Center and hosting the 2016 Olympic trials for whitewater kayaking.

Each chapter of the story offers the chance to engage with more contextual content, with links to news archives about Oklahoma City’s hosting of the Olympic Festival of 1989 and videos capturing the original vision for the boathouses that now dot the banks of the Oklahoma River, all to tell Oklahoma City’s story more fully.

So check out “A River’s Rise” and be sure to share it with you friends and family.

MAPS, Oklahoma City history, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What we’re thankful for

MAPS Whitewater Rapids

Since 2017 was such a big year for our community, and this is the week of giving thanks, we thought we would share some of the things we are thankful for.

  • A River’s Rise: The Oklahoma River continues to be an unexpected gem in the heart of downtown.
  • MAPS 3: The landmark initiative continues to make huge strides as we see more and more projects take shape.
  • The citizens: This year the citizens of OKC approved a $1.2 billion infrastructure investment to improve their community.
  • The Thunder: This year marks a decade of Thundering Up in OKC.
  • Innovation: Oklahoma City took the first steps in creating an innovation district based on the results of a Brookings/Project for Public Spaces study on OKC.
  • Beer: Recent changes in state law have resulted in an explosion of craft breweries in the metro.
  • Live music: The opening of several new venues have brought the live music scene in Oklahoma City to another level.
  • Tinker: This year marked the 75th anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base.
beer, community, Innovation District, live music, MAPS, Oklahoma River, Thunder, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A river’s rise

Riversport Rapids

In many ways, the story of the Oklahoma River and the modern-day renaissance of Oklahoma City go hand-in-hand. The river and Oklahoma City had many ups and downs during their first century before the original MAPS program jumpstarted an unprecedented rebirth for both.  

To help tell that story, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber recently launched a new storytelling feature on www.greateroklahomacity.com/river depicting the rise of Oklahoma City’s river.

“A River’s Rise” walks the reader through the history of the Oklahoma River from the Land Run of 1889 to today. Each of the six chapters cover an important aspect of the river’s renovation, from its roots as an important water source for early settlers and a venue for entertainment offerings like Delmar Gardens at the turn of the 20th Century, to the more recent addition of the RIVERSPORT Rapids Whitewater Center and hosting the 2016 Olympic trials for whitewater kayaking.

Each chapter of the story offers the chance to engage with more contextual content, with links to news archives about Oklahoma City’s hosting of the Olympic Festival of 1989 and videos capturing the original vision for the boathouses that now dot the banks of the Oklahoma River, all to tell Oklahoma City’s story more fully.

So check out “A River’s Rise” and be sure to share it with you friends and family.

MAPS, Oklahoma City history, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

MAPS 3 update

Scissortail Park Groundbreaking

So we tend to talk about the MAPS projects a lot. A whole lot. Just type in MAPS to our search bar and you will see an abundance of content. In our defense, MAPS is a pretty big deal around these parts. The program helped jump start our city’s modern renaissance and a lot of great things around our city can be traced back to one of the programs (Oklahoma River, Thunder, Bricktown Canal, etc.).

If you are new to Oklahoma City here is a brief refresher on each MAPS program:

The MAPS 3 projects are well underway and they will help change the face of OKC over the next couple of years. We thought it would be a great time to give a quick update on all the projects. It is important to remember that MAPS projects are built debt-free. That helps keep our city in great financial shape, but also means the projects take a little longer to build.

  • Downtown Convention Center- The design of the new convention center has been approved and construction crews will break ground in early 2018. Also, an agreement was reached with Omni to operate an attached convention center hotel.
  • Scissortail Park- Construction has begun on the new 70-acre park. The park will include everything from a café to sports facilities and a lake. The name was chosen from an online vote of residents.
  • Oklahoma City Streetcar- If you have been downtown lately, you know construction on the streetcar lines are well underway. Service is set to begin late next year.
  • RIVERSPORT Rapids- One of the first projects to be completed, you can now whitewater raft in the heart of downtown.
  • Bennett Event Center- Completed earlier this year, the Bennett Events Center added 279,000 square feet of exhibit space to State Fair Park.
  • Senior Health and Wellness Centers- The first center has opened and membership has exceeded projections. Three more centers will open throughout the city over the next three years.
  • Trails- This $40 million project will bring three new trail systems to OKC’s already robust network. The West River Trail is already complete with two more trails finishing up before the end of next year.
  • Sidewalks- This ongoing project is bringing much-needed sidewalks to every part of the city. Click here for a map of the progress.
Bricktown, downtown, MAPS, Oklahoma River, Thunder
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

From zero to hero

Regatta Festival

While it’s hard to imagine OKC today without the fantastic amenities that are available in the Boathouse District, the district is actually in its infancy. A seven-mile stretch of the North Canadian River, known today as the Oklahoma River, was part of the original MAPS projects and was completed in 2004.

Prior to MAPS, the area had been a dry riverbed whose water was redirected to avoid flooding downtown Oklahoma City and the city had to mow it a couple times each year. The river actually got its name after local civic leader Ray Ackerman encouraged city leaders to name the area the Oklahoma River.

If you take a stroll through this area, prepare to see world-class boathouses with stunning architecture from Oklahoma City companies and universities. The recent addition of RIVERSPORT Rapids and the 70-acre Scissortail Park, which will stretch from the heart of downtown OKC to the Oklahoma River, will only add to the excitement of this unique area. If you haven’t, pack up the family and make the short trek to explore this growing area. We can promise you will be glad you did. 

Boathouse District, family-friendly, MAPS, Oklahoma River
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Rollin’ on the river

In addition to hosting the Regatta annually, the Oklahoma City Boathouse District serves as a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site year-round. But it is also a place for a ton of family fun and adventure.

The newest addition to the river is RIVERSPORT Rapids, a MAPS 3-funded whitewater center that offers rafting, kayaking and tubing. The center opened in May 2016 and hosted the Olympic trials for canoe/kayak slalom that year. For tamer entertainment, rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board for the day or test your skills on the climbing walls.

But if watersports aren’t your style, you can also take your adventurous spirit to new heights with the Rumble Drop or SandRidge Sky Trail, the tallest adventure course of its kind in the world! Both the 700-feet zip line across the Oklahoma River and the 72-foot sky slide from atop the sky trail will make you feel like a kid again. There is even a youth zone for the kiddos. And certainly anyone who appreciates the great outdoors will love the 13 miles of scenic trails that meander along the Oklahoma River. No matter your activity level, the Oklahoma River and the Boathouse District are sure to have something for you to enjoy.

running, water sports, Boathouse District, cycling, family-friendly, kids, MAPS, outdoor recreation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The OKC renaissance continues

Riversport Rapids

Thanks to a revitalization effort that began in the 1990s, Oklahoma City has been in the midst of a multi-decade renaissance. With a low cost of living and future endeavors underway such as the creation of an innovation district, a 70-acre downtown park and more, OKC is primed for even more growth into the future.

If you want to keep up-to-date with the latest news and happenings in the 4-0-5, the newsroom on the Chamber’s site is a great tool. Bookmark it and we will pass along the latest developments involving MAPs, economic news and more.

cost of living, Innovation District, MAPS, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The future is almost here. Excited yet?

Streetcar Ground Breaking

Last week, the first of seven streetcars came off the assembly line and will soon be painted and shipped to OKC. If you drive or do a bit of walking around Bricktown, you can see the freshly installed tracks where the streetcar will run. And, if you read or hear anything on the news about the streetcar, you can feel the palpable excitement OKCitians have for this groundbreaking project.

The installation and soon-to-be operation of the streetcar reflects the growth of OKC’s downtown core as a result of the booming success of the other MAPS projects. In fact, the OKC Streetcar itself will be transformative, as many city leaders are expecting its installation to result in greater sales and property tax revenue for the city like similar installations in Kansas City. But, even more important than positive economic impact, the OKC Streetcar will have a positive influence on OKC’s culture for years to come.

downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

You’re fifteen, Chesapeake Energy Arena

Chesapeake Energy Arena

One of our best-known modern philosophers once admonished, “When you’re fifteen, and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.” In the case of the Chesapeake Arena, there’s no reason to doubt OKC’s genuineness. “Loud City,” the current home of the OKC Thunder and one of the centerpieces of the original set of MAPS projects, is also a great place to see a concert. We recommend taking a deep breath as you walk through the doors of the ‘Peake, because you’re sure to see some concerts that will leave you breathless. In fact, one of the senior boys winked at the arena right off the bat, with the legendary Paul McCartney playing one of the first shows back in 2002 and making our head spin around. The Chesapeake is ready to celebrate its 15th in style, with the former Beatle slated to return July 17, joining Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, Linkin Park, Iron Maiden and more on the arena’s upcoming concert calendar. Check out more info here, and don’t mind us as we dance around the room when the night ends, when the night ends.

basketball, concerts, live music, MAPS
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

If you build it they will come

What would you do if you had a dry riverbed that needed to be mowed periodically? If your answer is not “transform it into a world-class venue for rowing, canoeing and kayaking,” then you aren’t thinking like the leaders of Oklahoma River’s recent renaissance.

The seven-mile stretch of the North Canadian River, known today as the Oklahoma River, was part of the original MAPS projects and was completed in 2004, a mere 13 years ago. Prior to MAPS, the area had been a dry riverbed whose water was redirected to avoid flooding downtown Oklahoma City. Thanks to residents’ approval of a one-cent sales tax in 1993 and again in 2009, the Oklahoma River is now a premiere center for riversports that attracts visitors from around the world. 

If you take a stroll through this area, prepare to see world-class boathouses with stunning architecture from Oklahoma City companies and universities. The recent addition of RIVERSPORT Rapids and the developing 70-acre downtown park which will stretch from the heart of downtown OKC to the Oklahoma River will only add to the excitement of this unique area. If you haven’t, pack up the family and make the short trek to explore this growing area. We can promise you will be glad you did.

family-friendly, MAPS, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Fun even without a paddle

Riversport Zipline

In addition to hosting the Regatta annually, the Oklahoma City Boathouse District serves as a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site year-round. But it also a place for a ton of family fun and adventure.

The newest addition to the river is RIVERSPORT Rapids, a MAPS 3-funded whitewater center that offers rafting, kayaking and tubing. The center opened in May and hosted the 2016 Olympic trials for canoe/kayak slalom.

You can also take your adventurous spirit to new heights with the Rumble Drop or SandRidge Sky Trail, the tallest adventure course of its kind in the world! Both the 700-feet zip line across the Oklahoma River and the 72-foot sky slide from atop the sky trail will make you feel like a kid again. For tamer entertainment, rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board for the day or test your skills on the climbing walls. There is even a youth zone for the kiddos. And certainly anyone who appreciates the great outdoors will love the 13 miles of scenic trails that meander along the Oklahoma River. All river adventures activities are currently open during the weekends. They will open for week-long fun in late May.

Boathouse District, family-friendly, MAPS, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MAPS 3 update

MAPS 3 Health and Wellness Center ribbon cutting

Milestone is the word of the week as three MAPS 3 projects have recently hit major landmarks in development.

First, the MAPS 3 Streetcar groundbreaking recently took place, and construction is underway with service projected to begin by the end of 2018. The streetcar will connect residents and visitors to downtown Oklahoma City districts and attractions, including Bricktown, the Myriad Gardens, Chesapeake Energy, Midtown and Automobile Alley. The main line and Bricktown loop will encompass 6.9 miles of track.

Second, the first of four MAPS 3 Senior Health and Wellness Centers recently opened, providing services that promote healthy and active lifestyles to Oklahoma City seniors. Construction on the second wellness center is underway and is set to open later this year with the third and fourth wellness centers set to open in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

Third, the preliminary design for the MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center was recently approved, moving the project one step closer to its scheduled groundbreaking later this year. The convention center will be adjacent to the future MAPS 3 Park and south of Chesapeake Energy Arena with 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

Oh, and did we forget to mention the MAPS 3 Park will soon have its name? More than 3,500 name ideas have been submitted for the park, with a few already standing out from the crowd. The deadline to submit a name is April 7, so act now.

downtown, MAPS, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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MAPS

Chesapeake Energy Arena

MAPS stands for Metropolitan Area Projects and actually began 24 years ago in December of 1993 with MAPS I, thought to be the first large scale, public-facility enhancement project of its kind in the nation. The original MAPS project was funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax that lasted for 66 months, raising $309 million for MAPS I projects.

The original MAPS projects included iconic OKC facilities such as the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Bricktown Canal, Cox Convention Center, Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library.

These landmark, iconic OKC facilities are so part of our daily lives today, that sometimes it is good to take a trip down memory lane and remember how it all began.

Oklahoma City history, baseball, Bricktown, library, MAPS
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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MAPS for kids

MAPS for Kids Elementary School

In November of 2001, the Maps for Kids program was established when Oklahoma City voters approved a new tax to fund public schools. The seven year temporary sales tax, combined with a $180 million bond issue, raised $700 million to fund transportation, technology and construction projects for the benefit of Oklahoma City’s public school students.

With many of the larger construction projects complete, work continues at some schools throughout Oklahoma City. When the program comes to a close, over 70 new and renovated schools totaling $470 million in construction will be completed.

MAPS for Kids also provided funding for 23 suburban school districts that serve Oklahoma City resident students. When the program ends, nearly $153 million in city sales tax will have been expended for over 400 projects in these 23 suburban school districts.

Like other MAPS projects, MAPS for Kids has played a fundamental part in improving the daily lives of Oklahoma City residents. By investing in Oklahoma City student’s schools and programs, MAPS for Kids has also invested in the future of Oklahoma City.

education, MAPS, Oklahoma City history
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Moving Made Easy: Transportation

OKC Downtown Skyline and highway interchange

One thing that might surprise newcomers to the 4-0-5 is just how big Oklahoma City is. The city covers 620 square miles, making it one of the top three largest cities in America by land size. In a city that size transportation is crucial.

The good news is that Oklahoma City sits at the crossroads of three major interstates. If your preferred mode of transportation is automobile…well you won’t spend much time there. Out of the biggest 52 metros in the U.S., OKC had the third-lowest commute time.

As the population of the metro continues to grow, public transportation is also key. EMBARK is Oklahoma City’s bus system and has recently won a trio of prestigious awards. We also have a popular bike sharing program called Spokies.

One of the most anticipated transportation projects (heck developments of any kind) is the upcoming MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar. The final route for the streetcar was recently approved, the streetcars are on order, and construction on the line is underway (please pardon our progress).

If you are looking to travel outside of the metro, come home soon, but check out Will Rogers World Airport and the Heartland Flyer. The airport boasts seven airlines with 22 nonstop flights and the train makes daily trips to Ft. Worth (with connections further south) with several stops along the way. 

For more information on transportation in OKC our website is a great start.

cycling, day-trip, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Streetcar surprises

Streetcar branding

It’s been a banner year for the upcoming OKC Streetcar system. In addition to the release of the branding and colors, the City Council approved two routes for the initial system, the purchase of up to six streetcars from Brookville Equipment Corporation, and a contractor for the installation of the rails. Things are really “moving along” when it comes to the OKC Streetcar, and we can’t wait to start riding in 2018. Keep up with the MAPS 3 news archive on the City’s website.

MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The river that OKC built

OKC Boathouse District at night

What would you do if you had a dry riverbed that needed to be mowed periodically? If your answer is not “transform it into a world-class venue for rowing, canoeing and kayaking,” then you aren’t thinking like the leaders of Oklahoma River’s recent renaissance.

The seven-mile stretch of the North Canadian River, known today as the Oklahoma River, was part of the original MAPS projects and was completed in 2004, a mere 11 years ago. Prior to MAPS, the area had been a dry riverbed whose water was redirected to avoid flooding downtown Oklahoma City. Thanks to residents’ approval of a one-cent sales tax in 1993 and again in 2009, the Oklahoma River is now a premiere center for riversports that attracts visitors from around the world.  

If you take a stroll through this area, prepare to see world-class boathouses with stunning architecture from Oklahoma City companies and universities. The recent addition of RIVERSPORT Rapids and the developing 70-acre downtown park which will stretch from the heart of downtown OKC to the Oklahoma River will only add to the excitement of this unique area. If you haven’t, pack up the family and make the short trek to explore this growing area. We can promise you will be glad you did.

family-friendly, MAPS, Oklahoma City history, Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, water sports
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Get involved!

State Fair Expo Building

Did you ever wonder what it takes to put on a world-class fair such as that in OKC? The Oklahoma State Fair is rich in history and heritage and is ranked among the top State Fairs in North America. But the fun family event wouldn’t be possible without dedicated volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure its success. If you are interested in having loads of fun with a great group consider volunteering. In addition to the State Fair, volunteers get together for other fun and educational opportunities throughout the year including socials and dinners. While the State Fair brings thousands of thrill seekers and game lovers to the fairgrounds each year, hundreds of other events are hosted at the site as well. With the coming addition of the MAPS 3 Bennett Event Center, the number of ways you can have a good time at Oklahoma State Fair Park is expected to grow exponentially.

MAPS, State Fair Park, volunteer
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Boathouse District

Kayak in the Riversport Rapids

Maybe no district mirrors Oklahoma City’s modern-day renaissance like the Boathouse District. A little more than two decades ago the Oklahoma River was a local joke that had to be routinely mowed (it wasn’t exactly flowing with water). Thanks to investment from the local citizens through MAPS the river now is a hotbed of activity, features multiple boathouses and is a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site year-round.

Just last month the one-of-a-kind RIVERSPORT Rapids opened. The project, which is part of the city's MAPS 3 initiative, is one of only six man made white water courses in the entire country. The site will offer different courses ranging from class II rapids (perfect for families and first time rafters) to class IV rapids which will challenge even elite athletes.

The district is not just for Olympic-caliber water athletes but for the whole family. Try out the free fall experience of the Rumble Drop or SandRidge Sky Trail, the tallest adventure course of its kind in the world! We have to admit that both the 700-feet zip line across the Oklahoma River and 72-foot sky slide from atop the sky trail make us feel like kids again. But don’t fret, there is plenty to do for those who prefer a little tamer entertainment. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board for the day or test your skills on the climbing walls. There is even a youth zone for the kiddos. And certainly all outdoors men and women (young and young at heart) will love the 13 miles of scenic trails that meander along the Oklahoma River.

Can’t decide what to do? Don’t worry you can buy a RIVERSPORT All Access or Adventure pass. You can buy a day or annual pass and try everything the Oklahoma River has to offer.

family-friendly, MAPS, water sports, Boathouse District
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

70 acres of green, blue and you

MAPS 3 Central Park

One of the MAPS 3 projects we’re most excited about is the new downtown public park. Situated just south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena and going all the way to the river, the MAPS 3 park will give us 70 total acres of green space right in the middle of our community.

The master plan has been approved by the City Council, and designs are being fine-tuned. Current plans call for a lake, a café, nature walks, sports facilities and more.

The 40-acre north section is scheduled to be complete in 2018, with the 30-acre south portion ready in 2021. And if you’ve been wondering how you’ll get across I-40 to access both sides, that’s what the Skydance Pedestrian Bridge is for!

downtown, MAPS, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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