View Full Version : Downtown Library opened today

08-17-2004, 02:59 PM
Well, the new beautiful downtown library opened today. I haven't gotten a chance to go inside yet, but I saw the inside from the windows at night, and it looked really modern and first class. Comparing this new building to the old building is like comparing night to day.


Library’s opening folds MAPS

By Steve Lackmeyer
The Oklahoman


That’s the word being used today to describe the status of Oklahoma City’s Metropolitan Area Projects with the opening of the Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library.

As hundreds - if not thousands - gather to celebrate the library’s opening, the building also represents perseverance over the program’s darkest days. The building’s opening, after all, is at least three years later than expected.

“If you look at the MAPS projects as children, this was our problem child,” Mayor Mick Cornett said. “There was controversy over the site and where to put it, and then problems with it getting built.”

A few years ago, those problems might have tainted the library in the public eye, Cornett said, but he thinks a string of successful openings can be credited with turning “MAPS” into a positive brand that even resulted in a spinoff - “MAPS for Kids” - the overhaul of Oklahoma City area schools.

Former Mayor Ron Norick, whose name is attached to the library, thinks today will be a reunion of the dozens whose dreams more than a decade ago made MAPS a reality.

On Dec. 14, 1993, voters approved an unprecedented five-year, 1-cent dedicated sales tax to build a new ballpark, library, arena, canal, and downtown transit system, and to also fund restoration of the North Canadian River (now the Oklahoma River), and renovations to State Fair Park, the Civic Center Music Hall, and the Myriad Convention Center (now Cox Convention Center).

Norick admits he initially hoped the projects, including the library, would be complete within eight years. While the work lasted 11 years, Norick also points out the dreamers underestimated the economic impact when they predicted it would total $140 million.

To date, downtown private investment following MAPS totals about $500 million.

“As optimistic as we were about building MAPS and getting it done, we also missed it the other way in realizing how fast the private dollars would come in,” Norick said. “It’s hard for me to believe that Bricktown, while not quite fully developed yet, is on its way to being out of property to build up.”

One more MAPS project opening remains - the Oklahoma River, but that opening is awaiting completion of trails bridges funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The MAPS work on the river was completed earlier this year, City Manager Jim Couch said.

“It’s been holding water now for quite some time,” Couch said.

Despite a national recession, Couch said Oklahoma City has managed to enjoy what he believes to be one of the most prosperous periods in its 115-year history.

Couch credits MAPS with the construction of new downtown hotels and housing, a possible deal for a Dell computer sales center along the Oklahoma River and the emergence of Bricktown as a regional destination.

01-25-2006, 02:48 PM
An update on the downtown library. I emailed their marketing director to see what the status was of the cafe' opening inside of it.

Our intent was to have the Cafe' open this spring. But because of some capital improvement projects involving other libraries in the Metropolitan Library System, the Cafe' is getting a slower start than originally anticipated. We have not yet sent out RFPs for cafe' vendors; once this is done, my best guess would be for it to open approximately 6 months after the RFPs are returned.

Hope this helps!

05-09-2006, 11:13 AM
Another update. I emailed the lady at the library and today she said the RFP's are still not out for bid yet. Sad to see this project taking so long, especially since it has tremendous opportunity.

05-16-2006, 01:16 PM
I heard from the lady at the library today and she says RFP's for the new library cafe went out today. I'll keep you posted. I also talked with her about the old library. The sign is still up and could be confusing to visitors, plus it looks tacky. She's says its not the library in charge but the city. Maybe we all need to email the city. I'll find out who handles it.

05-16-2006, 01:20 PM
I thought I had read somewhere that the old library was going to be turned into housing.

05-16-2006, 02:00 PM
Survey, it was discussed but never confirmed. The building was up for auction 3 times but no one ever bought it. The starting bids were two high. Some of the prospective bidders were notorious for downtown housing projects but it was all speculative.