View Full Version : Mayor answers more downtown questions



metro
04-15-2008, 09:49 AM
Mayor fields more questions on downtown
By Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

Have no doubt about it, I was being a bit mischievous with last week's column by offering some questions to members of Urban Neighbors to ask Mayor Mick Cornett during their visit Thursday at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

A couple of the questions did get asked: Cornett indicated he probably will be receptive to owners of the SuperSonics wanting the city to build a practice arena in suburban Oklahoma City instead of downtown. He also indicated a MAPS 3 probably won't be possible until 2010, and that he would like to see it include a convention center and a downtown light rail system.

But there were so many other questions I had listed that never got asked. Here they are with his responses:

Q: If the Bricktown Canal is considered one of the most photographed areas of the city, why the delay replacing trees lost in the recent ice storms? Can't MAPS maintenance funds be used to bring back the greenery?

A: We're going to replace them. There were 15 to 20 trees lost. We'll start doing it next week. Cornett added the city is looking to pursue a more ambitious planting program that would likely first address the most prominent corridors.

Q: Are you aware of the buildings in MidTown and Bricktown that have had broken windows for years, and if so, aren't these properties in violation of the city's code ordinances?

A: I can't say I'm much aware of that. I'm usually driving and not looking at windows. But I don't think they're a code violation as long as the buildings are secure.

(Cornett said even if such windows are not a code violation, he has at times called property owners asking them to make improvements. "Sometimes getting a call from the mayor can make a difference, Cornett said. "It doesn't look good, and we don't need broken windows.)

Q: What is the timetable for moving the city's detox center, which is surrounded by condominiums and apartments in Deep Deuce?

A: Soon. The 2007 bond issue is already sold for it (a new detox center). I would guess that if we haven't selected a site yet, it's a priority.

Q: Civic leaders often point to the Santa Fe Parking Garage as a good alternative to parking in Bricktown. But do you think the lighting and pedestrian access along E.K. Gaylord Boulevard is inviting to such use?

A: We have sidewalks there. It's lit. The downtown streetscape master plan will really address making it pedestrian friendly. I think the murals help a lot.

It's two blocks. But it's that mental barrier of the railroad tracks. So it gets down to experience. I know of people who park there, it's just part of what people do.

Q: If given a choice between the building designs in Lower Bricktown and those used in Edmond's Spring Creek shopping center, which do you think stands out as superior architecture?

A: I think Spring Creek is surprisingly urban. But I'm not disappointed with how Lower Bricktown looks. I like it. I think they're both nice.

Q: In light of Devon Energy's planning to build a corporate headquarters downtown, do you have a favorite skyscraper you would love to see mimicked in Oklahoma City?

A: What I would like is for it to be is iconic and distinctive. The ones in Dubai, the pictures I've seen, are pretty impressive. I don't know if that's even feasible or architecturally possible. But they are buildings that you would remember. I'm fully confident Devon will pick a design we will be proud of.

Q: How difficult is the task ahead for a full revival of fortunes at First National Center?

A: I think the improvements they have planned are a step in the right direction. What it's going to take is a full faith investment that shows the owners fully believe in the property. I think it's like the Skirvin. The Skirvin is working because we did it right and we didn't do it second rate. There were all those options to make it part condos, or different scenarios less than a full hotel.

It's working because we held nothing back. We spent what had to be spent. If First National is refurbished at the same level, the owners will be rewarded.

Q: If you could live at one of the new downtown housing projects, which one would you choose?

A: Whichever my wife would live in. She makes all the housing decisions in my family.

Q: If parking isn't a big problem downtown, where do you park when going to Bricktown on a busy night?

A: "My experiences vary. If I'm going to Nonna's or the Mickey Mantle Steakhouse, I use the valet service. If it's the Brewery, I'll park behind the Brewery. Other than that, I usually park in the garage next to the ballpark. There are almost always spaces open in there. If I go to the theater, I'll park behind the theater. I do remember once, when it was busy, dropping my wife off at the theater and then parking by the Land Run sculptures.

jbrown84
04-15-2008, 11:29 AM
Where does he live, by the way?

metro
04-15-2008, 11:38 AM
Last I heard in the PC area. Also, it appears Mick is a fan of Lower Bricktown based upon the article. :(

solitude
04-15-2008, 11:39 AM
His answer about Edmond's Spring Creek design versus Lower Bricktown was interesting. Personally, I wish Lower Bricktown could be picked up and put down at the Spring Creek location and the Spring Creek design go in, as designed, in Lower Bricktown. It certainly would make more sense.

Pete
04-15-2008, 01:27 PM
Where does he live, by the way?

Lansbrook addtiion, just west of McArthur and south of Hefner.

jbrown84
04-15-2008, 01:33 PM
I think his answer on Lower Bricktown was more him being diplomatic than really expressing his opinion. I'm sure he'd rather have Spring Creek in that place, but he's not going to say that.

John
04-15-2008, 02:11 PM
I think his answer on Lower Bricktown was more him being diplomatic than really expressing his opinion. I'm sure he'd rather have Spring Creek in that place, but he's not going to say that.

Sure don't want to offend Randy Hogan! :rolleyes: ;)

jbrown84
04-17-2008, 12:02 AM
Well, I think it makes sense for the current mayor to not go around bad mouthing any developer's work on the record. It could potentially keep future project from happening. I know it's a stretch, but I think he did the right thing in probably not saying what he really thinks. What good would it really do?

John
04-17-2008, 12:46 AM
Well, I think it makes sense for the current mayor to not go around bad mouthing any developer's work on the record. It could potentially keep future project from happening. I know it's a stretch, but I think he did the right thing in probably not saying what he really thinks. What good would it really do?

Put some pressure on developers to build quality projects instead of pull a Hogan or Henderson? :D

metro
04-17-2008, 09:12 AM
Exactly, or he could say "no comment", thus allowing room for personal interpretation on behalf of the builders. If it was a great development, the Mayor would then have no problem praising it, but if it's mediocre, then he could say "no comment". Heck, if I ever run/get elected mayor, I will have no problem addressing issues past/current mayors have chosen to ignore or say "this isn't a problem". I'm tired of us settling for cut rate development just for the sake of a few dollars more in tax dollars. These people don't get it that quality developments attract quality people and more quality development.

FritterGirl
04-17-2008, 09:15 AM
Exactly, or he could say "no comment", thus allowing room for personal interpretation on behalf of the builders. If it was a great development, the Mayor would then have no problem praising it, but if it's mediocre, then he could say "no comment".

PR 101: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, say NO COMMENT! Never, ever, ever.

metro
04-17-2008, 09:26 AM
not true.

bombermwc
04-17-2008, 09:36 AM
Well as for a mayor in this type of discussion, "no comment" would be bad. If he had said that, then we'd all know he's unhappy. The way he phrased it keeps anyone from getting their panties in a twist. And, hey he may actually really like it. It's not as urban as anyone wants, but he may not hate it.

metro
04-17-2008, 09:39 AM
Exactly my point bomber. "No comment" allows room for interpretation, however the way he worded it, in your words "no one gets their panties in a twist", thus sustaining the current toleration of sub-par development. "No comment" at least gives wiggle room either way and allows room for expansion of comment at a more appropriate time without saying too much that could later be regretted. This city has far too long made statements that "please everybody". So what, be BOLD, make a few decisions and statements that some people aren't going to be happy with. Do you think San Fran, Seattle, LA, Chicago, NY don't make bold in your face comments?

OKCTalker
04-17-2008, 10:00 AM
PR 101: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, say NO COMMENT! Never, ever, ever.

No, rule number one is never lie to a reporter.

Steve
04-17-2008, 10:52 AM
Ding, ding, ding... OKC Talker, you have won a year's supply of RiceARoni, the San Francisco treat!

FritterGirl
04-17-2008, 11:04 AM
No, rule number one is never lie to a reporter.

Nowhere in my post did I say this was "rule #1." I said it was from PR 101. I still say that "No Comment" is a big no-no. I would agree that "don't lie to a reporter" is, indeed, rule #1.

There are too many other ways around "no comment" that are more transparent, or at least give the impression of being transparent (tranparency being of utmost importance).

"I cannot / prefer not to comment at this time."
"I prefer not to speculate."
"I really don't have an opinion on that matter."

Call them as you want them, but by saying "No comment" to just about anything, you are implying that you have something to hide.

metro
04-17-2008, 11:16 AM
FritterGirl, thanks for the clarification. I am of the school of thought there are more than one "correct" methods. Secondly, I should have clarified, when I said "no comment", I was saying it in summarizing, because as you pointed out, there are numerous ways to say "no comment". That was all I was getting at, is that you can say it many different ways to be clear and still not comment. Also the words "no comment" can imply you have something to hide, or that you just don't care or don't find the question relevant.

jbrown84
04-17-2008, 02:00 PM
I still don't see what good it would have done, in this context, to speak out against Hogan's Lower BT (assuming he doesn't actually like it). The fact that the mayor tells a reporter in a Q&A that he doesn't like supbar developments isn't really going to stop anybody from doing it in the future.

1) I think a lot of these developers are so unambitious, they don't realize how subpar their work is

2) If Cornett is going to spur change in this area, he needs to be much more proactive than just saying "Yeah, I know, it's kind of crappy, isn't it Steve?"

OKCTalker
04-17-2008, 04:10 PM
Ding, ding, ding... OKC Talker, you have won a year's supply of RiceARoni, the San Francisco treat!

Second place is two years' of RAR?

John
04-17-2008, 04:49 PM
I still don't see what good it would have done, in this context, to speak out against Hogan's Lower BT (assuming he doesn't actually like it). The fact that the mayor tells a reporter in a Q&A that he doesn't like supbar developments isn't really going to stop anybody from doing it in the future.

1) I think a lot of these developers are so unambitious, they don't realize how subpar their work is

2) If Cornett is going to spur change in this area, he needs to be much more proactive than just saying "Yeah, I know, it's kind of crappy, isn't it Steve?"

Could have just said that he liked the look of Spring Creek better.

The original 'permanant' structures downtown looked a lot more like Spring Creek as opposed to what we have now in Lesser Bricktown.