View Full Version : Dedicate a minimum percent of TIF to public art

02-17-2015, 07:19 PM
Just a thought I had while thinking about how public financing has become an entitlement for downtown developers in most cities. When OKC first started using TIFs for downtown development, we gained public spaces like the NE 2nd/Oklahoma plaza, or Maywood Park.

Most states now have the law where 1% of public works projects is spent on public art. If TIF required the same (or maybe 10%), we could get back to the business of placemaking and building more marketable projects and neighborhoods.

We should also establish general standards for projects to get TIF, including perhaps: historic preservation if applicable, visually appealing parking, street level retail, etc. There are probably other ways we could be more strategic with the use of public finance.

02-17-2015, 07:26 PM
Spartan, the City has required that all new public projects spend 1% of their budget on public art.

There are dozens and dozens of new projects underway. I'll have to post the latest report by the group that manages this for the City.

02-18-2015, 06:53 PM
Are you arguing that we already have enough public art? TIF goes to developers and should be able to circumvent public spending requirements (ie., Buy America, 1% for Arts, etc).

Besides, that's 1%. We should push back on what TIF can be used for so that it is making a difference in OKC's urban development.

Another breathtaking realization is one thing that wreaked financial havoc on Project 180 was all of the public art (in excess of 10% I'm sure) that had to be added from scratch. If we were able to use TIF money instead to compliment what we did (are still doing) with P180, things would have worked out better.

02-18-2015, 06:55 PM
The issue is that developers who are awarded TIF funds are using it for gap financing; the difference between what they say they can finance and what they need to build the project.

So, if we add this requirement, they'll just add it to their TIF request.

02-18-2015, 07:21 PM
They don't need as much gap financing as they did in 2009 when it was mostly their own equity. That's exactly what needs to be reigned in now that banks are lending.