Widgets Magazine
  • MAPS 3 Whitewater Facility to be named after Aubrey McClendon

    Through the Oklahoma City Riverfront Redevelopment Authority, Mike Knopp, the Executive Director of the OKC Boathouse Foundation, has proposed renaming the $45 million MAPS3 whitewater facility to Aubrey K. McClendon Whitewater Center at Riversport Rapids.

    At the same time, the foundation has launched a $6 million fund raising campaign to sustain its operational efforts, continue and expand youth programs, and to add further honorariums to McClendon, including a proposed tree grove and an interactive tribute exhibit.

    From a memo recommending approval of a resolution authored by the redevelopment authority's General Manager, Jim Couch:

    Resolution recommending that the Oklahoma City Council approve a request from the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation to name the Riversport Rapids Whitewater Building the “Aubrey K. McClendon Whitewater Center at Riversport Rapids,” in honor of the late Aubrey McClendon for his leadership and generosity in the creation and development of the Boathouse District.

    On January 20, 2017, staff received a request from Mike Knopp, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, to name the Whitewater Building at Riversport Rapids in honor of the late Aubrey McClendon. Mr. McClendon, an Oklahoma City native and noted business leader and philanthropist, died on March 2, 2016. He was an early champion of rowing on the Oklahoma River and founding chairman of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation, which he led for more than a decade.

    As chairman of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, Mr. McClendon led private efforts to develop the Boathouse District. These included securing resources to construct the Chesapeake Community Boathouse and the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower. According to the request, Mr. McClendon’s work on behalf of the Oklahoma River and the Boathouse District enhanced thousands of lives and reframed how people view Oklahoma City.

    Mr. Knopp stated that the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation will also honor Mr. McClendon with a privately funded, interactive exhibit at the Whitewater Building that will inspire imagination and bold vision in future generations.

    From a presentation for the fund raising campaign:

    The $6.0 million of funds raised through the “Onward & Upward” Aubrey McClendon Tribute Campaign will support powerful initiatives categorized as follows:
    • Sustain the financial operations of the OKC Boathouse Foundation (a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization) to ensure existing Boathouse District facilities and grounds representing $140 million of public/private investment maintain a world class standard that is representative of Aubrey’s pride in Oklahoma City
    • Allow the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation to meet financial obligations, fund operating reserves, and maintain facilities
    • Guarantee the continuance of youth outreach and Olympic hopeful programming that have helped define the success of the Oklahoma River (funds raised will support the programming for four years)
    • Create an inspiring interactive tribute exhibit and destination attraction within the “Aubrey K. McClendon Whitewater Center” with a special christening celebration
    • Support the development of a STEM program using the Boathouse District’s moving water, mechanical pumps, and human energy to inspire a new generation of engineers, geologists and scientists
    • Leverage the world class facilities of the Boathouse District to create truly unique opportunities for all Oklahoma City Public School middle school students through an innovative new rowing, kayaking, and adventure-based curriculum
    • Advance the annual OKC National Whitewater Festival to serve as a recurring celebration for the world class facilities and attractions that Aubrey helped inspire
    • Plant a memorial grove of trees along RIVERSPORT Drive in the Boathouse District
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