View Full Version : Bricktown in the press (again)

12-26-2004, 11:46 PM
It's so good to see Bricktown in thepress again. By the way, this article mentions the "parking problem" in Bricktown. Folks, there is no parking problem if you have a brain in your head! Park at the huge Harkin's lot. Even if you had to pay to park, every other downtown across the country has pay parking, many charging much more than what ours charge. Why should we be any different? That's just part of urban life. If you want seas of free parking, that's called the suburbs!
"Bricktown looking for identity with locals

By Tom Lindley
The Oklahoman

A herd of painted buffalo stood in place on the hillside on one side of the Bricktown Canal, which glistened like gold under the strings of holiday lights.
On the other side, the human version of the huddled masses waited calmly in 36-degree weather for a free water taxi ride, a $6 value.

On the street above, grandmothers hugged their grandbabies while fathers treated their digital cameras with the same high regard.

The Hornbecks, John and Dana, snapped photos as their son, Dawson, rode the toy train in front of the ballpark.

They had driven down for the day from Crescent, stopping at Bass Pro Shops before they worked their way toward the center of Bricktown.

"I tried to talk her into one of those new four-wheelers at Bass Pro, but I think that $7,000 price tag scared her off," John Hornbeck said.

He seemed content to settle for a boat ride.

A promotion problem
As the crowd assembled below him, Frank Sims, director of the Bricktown Association, leaned on the railing of the bridge between Mickey Mantle Drive and Oklahoma Avenue and thought about relishing the moment the way a promoter does a packed house.

To the south, the Centennial Fountain was aglow and moviegoers were scurrying into the new theater. Toby Keith's restaurant and music hall is under construction along the banks of the canal. To the east another hotel is planned, and to the west there is talk of either a second hotel or high-rise condos.

So much for the "seasonality problem," Sims said of Bricktown's efforts to become a cold-weather destination.

But then that voice-mail message left on his office phone a few days ago played back in his mind.

It went something like this:

"You built Bricktown with my tax dollars, and you're crazy to think that I will pay to park when there's a lot of other restaurant choices in Oklahoma City."

Despite predictions that it will draw 7 million visitors next year, the town built of bricks apparently still is a few bricks short of a load in the minds of some.

My neighbor, Bob, could easily have made that phone call. He doesn't think he should have to pay to park, either, not when at least $80 million in Oklahoma City tax dollars was used to finance the canal, ballpark and street improvements and build Bass Pro Shops.

It doesn't help that parking lot vendors pull out the $10-per-car sign when they see him coming.

Bob has heard about the new Harkins Theatre, but he hasn't been there, even though it offers free parking. Neither has he checked out the new Earl's Rib Palace or the Sky Bar. And he never got around to making a reservation for a Christmas gala at Nonna's Euro Ristarante & Bar, which is probably a good thing since its grand opening has been delayed.

"Everyone involved in promoting Bricktown and downtown has done a great job of telling visitors who we are, but we haven't done a good job of telling local people who we are," Sims said.

A changing destination
Perhaps the key bit of information is that for a place that was inspired by yesterday, yesterday quickly can become old news in Bricktown.

"This place is changing every day," Sims said. "I don't think that 10 years ago anybody would have thought we'd be where we are today."

Parking isn't the only thing on the minds of locals. Shoppers want more retail outlets, and conservationists want more attention paid to preserving existing buildings and less to some flashing neon signs.

No matter how you survey it, when it comes to state of mind, it does seem that the farther you live from Bricktown, the more you appreciate it.

"What's made it an attraction to Oklahomans is that it's a one-stop shop," Sims said. "There's always something going on that you can take advantage of. It's a destination to them."

Business is good
Chad Huntington, general manager of the water taxi service, said that for the last half of the year his business has been up 40 percent every month over last year. About half of his riders now hail from outside the Oklahoma City metro area.

"We don't know where Bricktown is going from here, but the changes related to people who visit are exciting," he said.

Consciously, they are drawn by water, by the Rolling Stones or whoever else is playing at the Ford Center, and by the conversion of two of the nation's longest interstate highways, Interstate 40 and Interstate 35.

Subconsciously, they are drawn by a sense of belonging.

"It's not just new development -- that's why it's a magnet," historian Bob Blackburn said. "Visitors may not know why, but Bricktown provides a sense of place."

History in the making
Nearly a century ago, Bricktown housed the goods needed to transform the prairie into a place.

But over time, the elevated railroad tracks brought more division than commerce.

"The tracks became a symbolic Berlin Wall dividing the city," Blackburn said.

It was an east-west and black-white division that over time isolated Bricktown, ultimately to its benefit.

Blackburn said if Bricktown had been included in an earlier wave of urban development decades ago, it would have lost its character and its potential.

Today, it joins the Myriad Gardens and the MAPS-related projects as one of the city's smartest investments.

"It's all there downtown -- a place to walk, green spaces, really beautiful buildings and arts and entertainment," Blackburn said.

The only question that remains is how much history Bricktown will make before it stops growing. "

12-27-2004, 12:09 AM
There is plenty of parking in Bricktown. If you want close parking you have to pay. If you are cheap (like me) park at Bass Pro and walk to Bricktown or park in those outer lots and ride the trolley. This is how an urban environment works, get used to it!

12-27-2004, 12:16 AM
You don't even have to pay for the trolley...the Bricktown shuttle runs between the Bass Pro lot and the Bricktown area along's free! So no walking either! It couldn't be any easier.

12-27-2004, 08:43 AM
Also, there are quite a few meter spots (free on weekends and after 6PM) I almost always find a spot there. If those aren't available, you can always take the trolley (50 cents both ways) and park somewhere downtown.

12-27-2004, 09:31 AM
Like I said before....the Bricktown shuttle is absolutely free....park in the Bass Pro lot and ride th shuttle for free.
I actually would rather walk though...Bass Pro is a long walk, so I usually do what Midtowner suggests. I usually find a parking meter around Devon/Renaissance Hotel (they're free after 6) and walk to Bricktown.

12-27-2004, 10:51 AM
I have never paid for parking in Bricktown when I didn't want to.

I think the parking situation there is just fine.

12-27-2004, 02:29 PM
I was able to see Meet the Fockers on Christmas day at the Harkins Theater without having to do anything extra for parking -- have a ticket validated, pay, etc.

By the way, the visual scene coming out of the theater onto Reno, the Centennial Fountain, and the rest of downtown is really special. I think it adds value to the movie going experience.

12-27-2004, 03:16 PM
Like I said before....the Bricktown shuttle is absolutely free....park in the Bass Pro lot and ride th shuttle for free.
I actually would rather walk though...Bass Pro is a long walk, so I usually do what Midtowner suggests. I usually find a parking meter around Devon/Renaissance Hotel (they're free after 6) and walk to Bricktown.

Of course, if you're trying to make a good first impression, this is often not the way to go. Sometimes $6-$10 is money well spent. I think we have enough options when it comes to parking though. At least, we have a lot of options we didn't have two years ago. The current situation is fine by me.

12-27-2004, 10:42 PM
Hey, if you're wanting to make a good first impression, skip parking and call Bricktown limos!

03-23-2005, 11:54 AM
In todays Daily Disappointment, Metro section, it had a depiction of the proposal of the mural on the west end of the canal. Personally, I think the whale mural would have been nicer and more of a tourist draw.

Proactive Volunteer
03-23-2005, 01:43 PM
Personally I think this will be the most AWESOME piece of public art for the canal! The project being done by OCCC students and volunteers....what more could we ask for?!

A whale in downtown OKC would not make sense. The whale artist is terrific, but this is much better for the City.

Council considers art plan
By Bryan Dean
The Oklahoman

The artist who plans to create a ceramic tile mosaic at the west end of the Bricktown Canal discussed her project Tuesday with the Oklahoma City Council.
The council is scheduled to vote on the proposal next week. Council members were complimentary of the design, much to the delight of Mary Ann Moore, the Oklahoma City Community College professor of visual art who is leading the $150,000 project.

Ward 5 Councilman Jerry Foshee said the mosaic will help the city's efforts to become "a destination point instead of just a stopover point."

"We are continuing to improve that area," Foshee said. "This just enhances it. It's like putting a bouquet of flowers on a dinner table."

The project is co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. Blake Wade, executive director of the commission, said the two-year timeline for completing the project is longer than he would like, but will allow Moore to produce a quality project.

"We are going to hand-make all of the tiles and fire it to a frost-proof temperature to make sure it is going to work in the weather," Moore said.

Moore will make the tiles with her students and volunteers.

"I think it will be truly an exciting artistic improvement to downtown," Wade said.

03-23-2005, 02:29 PM
I had heard about this in past weeks, and I think it's a superb idea. The more public art we can get around town, the better.

It will be located along the canal on the west side, in the concrete backdrop for the water feature and gardens.

I also like the tile mosaic idea. I've been impressed with the tile mosaics installed at the Bricktown Ballpark! They're unique.

I only wish that a public arts project was still planned for the concrete wall below the Santa Fe Railroad tracks (behind the proposed location for this project). This is actually where the whale mural would have gone. I still think a mural would look good there, although I think we all concluded that whales didn't really fit in the Bricktown area.

Proactive, if you become citycouncil woman for Ward 2, I hope that when you propose MAPS for Neighborhoods you include funds for public art. It's desparately neededin all parts of our city.

03-23-2005, 03:10 PM
A whale in downtown OKC would not make sense. The whale artist is terrific, but this is much better for the City.

I agree, I would much rather have a local mosaic, however, I didnt like how the proposal looked, I just meant I wish it would be redrafted, although the whales didnt fit our city, the artist Wylan?? I believe would of been a major tourist draw alone.

03-24-2005, 10:22 AM
Whaling is illegal in Oklahoma. The mural would help bring to light our strong stance against that barbaric practice.

03-24-2005, 05:51 PM
What!? Of course it's on the books next to illegal tattooing .... and 3% beer

Midtowner, I love your sense of humor -

but I do absolutely adore Wyland's artwork - unbelievably beautiful artwork..