View Full Version : Maintenance Downtown Losing Ground



The Old Downtown Guy
06-16-2006, 07:44 AM
I have noted with mounting concern a distinct downturn in maintenance of much of downtown this year and in particular, several areas that The City Government has ultimately responsibility for. Hereís part of the list:

MIRIAD GARDENS the paths around the pond are dirty, ivy is overflowing the adjacent beds. Turf is being eroded leaving muddy puddles.

COX AND FORD CENTER The windows are absolutely filthy. Much of the surface of the new paving on the south side of Cox is deteriorating.

BRICKTOWN ENTRANCES The underpasses on the east side of EK Gaylord that lead into Bricktown are filthy, paint is peeling and the side walks are covered with bird crap.

BRICKTOWN CANAL The landscaping along much of the canal is in deplorable condition. The sprinkler and irrigation system has many broken connections, exposed lines, malfunctioning sprinkler heads etc. Water is standing in many locations and other beds are bone dry. Several trees are dead and more are dying. Numerous beds have no plantings, no mulch and most have weeds; some are becoming choked with bermuda grass. The grass turf in several locations is gone or worn away creating mud holes. Erosion is beginning to take place at the base of the í89 Run Sculpture.

EAST MAIN STREET Most of the low growing plants in the landscaping beds of the recently completed streetscape project will be completely dead in another week or two and the trees will follow soon unless they get more water and attention.

LITTER The amount of litter collecting in corners and against fences in Bricktown has increased dramatically.

Long term maintenance of the MAPS funded improvements was a major issue with many people when Mayor Norick presented the idea and The City committed to keeping the improvements from falling into disrepair. They are not fulfilling their part of the bargain.

Go have a look for your selves and then call the Mayorís office today and let him know that the appearance of Oklahoma City is important to us and is an essential ingredient in attracting new businesses and jobs to our community. Letís not loose sight of maintaining a high quality standard in the public projects that we spent our hard earned MAPS tax dollars on.

Some Guy
06-16-2006, 08:26 AM
Old Downtown Guy,

You will know better than I, but isn't some of this supposed to be handled by Downtown OKC in its role as administrator of the downtown Business Improvement District (BID) and BID taxes?

The Old Downtown Guy
06-16-2006, 08:30 AM
Yes, Downtown OKC has a role in much of the maintainence of downtown, but the ultimate responsibility lies with City Government. If you would like to contact Dave Lopez at Downtown OKC, please do so. His phone number is 405.235.3500. The Mayor's office is 405.297.2424.

Flatlander
06-16-2006, 09:29 AM
This is a city wide problem,I understand that the upkeep of the MAPS projects have alot to do with wether or not the next MAPS tax passes,these complaints fall on deaf ears,Ive called everyone in the city,as long as they keep getting raises its not a big deal.I think the city should look elswhere to find the leadership it takes to do the simple tasks that have been mentioned.Excusses is what you will get by calling.Nobody will ever tell you that they will take care of these problems and if they do anything it will be temperary.This will be a issue the next time we vote for any tax increase.Everyone knows the job is not getting done.These are very simple tasks that could be done,mowing,picking up trash,watering trees,I just cant wait to hear the excusses.Will somebody start a thread about the excusses that they get from the mayors office and David lopez at Downtown OKC.This would be very interesting because Ive heard probably a hundred myself.Just downright frustrating,Everyone have a great day and good luck beccause you will need it.

ksearls
06-16-2006, 09:36 AM
NOT TRUE regarding DOKC, the BID and the maintenance of downtown regarding these issues.

The BID can clean approx 10 feet of public sidewalk of trash and bird poo, anything past that is private property and is the responsibility of the property owner.

Everything else mentioned is City.

Plus, Dave's not here man.

Kim

writerranger
06-16-2006, 10:13 AM
The Myriad Gardens was mentioned in ODG's post and I agree. My wife and I took one of our many strolls through the MG and it was noticeably lacking in upkeep in several areas - areas that normally are clean. I'll be downtown again today and will pay attention to the other things mentioned. That's not a good sign. Somebody is slacking in their oversight responsibilities.

ksearls
06-16-2006, 10:41 AM
Flatlander, You obvioiusly don't know Mr. Lopez.

Flatlander
06-16-2006, 02:08 PM
First off let me say,No I do not know him and nowhere in my post did I say I know him,what does knowing him have to do with this thread.Im sorry if I hurt your feelings.Ive spoke to him and as Ive mention before he had Excusses.I did not start this thread I was just telling you what I have encountered when I did talk to him.Is this wrong,or should I just say what you want me to.This was not an attack against him personnally I said in my other post here its just frustrating.Please forgive me I mean no harm

Flatlander
06-16-2006, 02:36 PM
Why call me out when old downtown guy started this thread.Do you not have the wits or knowledge to do that or is this a premium member vs member.this is a Forum right?

Doug Loudenback
06-16-2006, 04:45 PM
Ohmmmmm ... deep breaths ... relax ... We all want the same thing, I think, and if there are people to call, calling them would be a good thing. I'd suppose that those responsible (whoever they are) have many other items on their plates, as well.

Karried
06-16-2006, 05:01 PM
Yes, Doug is absolutely right. It's not the Premium vs Member issue.

Try to refrain from getting personal and please remember, name calling is not allowed on this forum, nor is it productive.

Let's all try to remain respectful and come to an agreement on how to best improve the issues facing downtown.

The Old Downtown Guy
06-16-2006, 05:08 PM
Thank you Doug and Karried.

Let's please not deteriorate into finger pointing, name calling and defensive postures. I think this is a matter that concerns us all equally and adversely impacts the perception of our city by visitors. I am seeking solutions here not anyone's head.

When I called Downtown OKC, I asked for Dave Lopez and was informed that he was out for a few days. After going to his voice mail and deciding not to interrupt his vacation by calling the cell phone number he graciously left in his message, I spoke with a staff person at Downtown OKC and briefly outlined the problems as I see them and left my phone number for a return call from Dave. I then spoke with the Mayor's office and left my phone number for Mayor Cornett to call me back. I also spoke with staff at City Council and left my number for Willa Johnson, as most of the problems are in her ward.

Within one hour, Wendel Wizenhut, Director of the Parks Department called me and we had a nice conversation. He is going to personally look into all of the canal issues and will let me know what his plan of action will be. My experience with him is that he will do exactly that. He made no excuses and agreed that those kinds of conditions were unacceptable. He said that Downtown OKC was contracted to maintain the East Main Street street scape (through the BID I presume) and I will talk with Dave Lopez about that when he returns from vacation. The plants are doomed anyhow. I will also discuss with him the nasty sidewalks in the underpasses and the litter which are BID responsibilities.

Some of the other issues will need to go to the City Manager and Mayor Cornett and Councilwoman Johnson will not be reluctant to bring them to his attention.

I started this thread to point out how quickly and easily our hard won victories can slip away unless we are tuned in to what is going on around our city. We all feel that we should be able to rely on city hall to keep the machines oiled and running smoothly, but that is not always the case. For the most part, I find our public officials and City Department Heads to be very responsive. I don't always agree with how the city manages things or all of the decisions made on City Council, but I am not at all interested in demonizing anyone in city government. My goal is to enlisting their cooperation to get important work done. And, in that context, I would really welcome your thoughts and ideas on how to avoid these problems in the future and continue to make out city a more inviting and pleasant place to live and work.

Doug Loudenback
06-16-2006, 05:09 PM
Karrie, I know it's off topic, but did your kid(s?) get to go to Chris Paul's training camp or did your jury duty pose too big a problem? I apologize for getting off-topic, but I never heard the outcome (vis a vis the Hornets Central forum).

Doug Loudenback
06-16-2006, 05:17 PM
Old Downtown Guy, what you've done (as described in your prior post) is excellent! I quite agree with what you said ... it's not enough "to get" good stuff, but it also needs to be "maintained." Good job for what you've done, and for your initial post ... looking at detail ... my eyes (and it's been so since I first got my 1st pair of glasses at age 41 ... almost 23 years ago) tend to see only what I specifically "look at" and I tend to look at the "larger" things most of the time. It's good to have "detail" people like you ... congrats and job well done!

Flatlander
06-16-2006, 06:00 PM
Sorry guys and gals Im letting the heat get to me I should be more positive in my comments & will be.I look forward to seeing a more beautiful city.

okcpulse
06-16-2006, 06:58 PM
What we need to remember, and this is addressed to everyone, is that when there is a problem that we feel will damage Oklahoma City's reputation, the problem needs to be quickly communicated and addressed. An argument will get us where Tulsa has gotten themselves many times.

Mud tossing is not permitted. It is not an Oklahoma City gesture.

Karried
06-16-2006, 07:31 PM
Agreed - let's make an effort to contact those we need to and do what needs to be done to keep our city clean and maintained....

Doug, next week is Jury Duty... I cancelled the camp.. with my husband working so far away I just couldn't see trying to get my son back and forth to camp. I am really disappointed and it cost me $35 bucks to cancel... but oh well... I'll do it and get it over with.. I just hope it doesn't drag on as I have real estate business that I need to take care of. I don't know how self-employed people do jury duty!

Doug Loudenback
06-16-2006, 08:07 PM
Sorry guys and gals Im letting the heat get to me I should be more positive in my comments & will be.I look forward to seeing a more beautiful city.
It's not a problem and it comes with the setting! All of us (at least, me) are known to get overheated (perhaps even you, OKCPulse, since you chimed in). No need for any of us to over-react to anything we see here. Oh, yeah, now that I think of it ... me included.

Why, I can easily enough think back to a personal time at OkcTalk, far far away and long long ago ... [star wars intro] ... Todd, Keith, do you remember? :tiphat: How times do change, and, in that instance, for the better! :bow:

Doug Loudenback
06-16-2006, 08:11 PM
Agreed - let's make an effort to contact those we need to and do what needs to be done to keep our city clean and maintained....

Doug, next week is Jury Duty... I cancelled the camp.. with my husband working so far away I just couldn't see trying to get my son back and forth to camp. I am really disappointed and it cost me $35 bucks to cancel... but oh well... I'll do it and get it over with.. I just hope it doesn't drag on as I have real estate business that I need to take care of. I don't know how self-employed people do jury duty!
Sooo sorry, Karrie! :( That's very sad. As for me, lawyers are statutorily not competent to serve on juries! And there you are.

ksearls
06-18-2006, 09:00 AM
He said that Downtown OKC was contracted to maintain the East Main Street street scape (through the BID I presume) and I will talk with Dave Lopez about that when he returns from vacation. The plants are doomed anyhow. I will also discuss with him the nasty sidewalks in the underpasses and the litter which are BID responsibilities.

Thanks for letting Dave have some r & r; I know we all think he deserves it! :superman:

I know you all love DT OKC and have the city's best interest at heart. Please try and understand that we have a staff of 4 and we are currently "drowning in opportunity" (which is much better than the alternative!)

Just to clear a couple of things up, the contract to maintain Main Street (with DOKC, not BID) does not begin until July 1, 2006.

Regarding litter, the BID can only maintain the street and up to 10 feet (maybe 8 feet, I will check on Monday) of sidewalk to the property line. The remainder is the responsibility of the property owner.

Regarding poo, yes, it is an ongoing battle. We do frequently powerwash and despite the BID's constant bird eradication efforts, sometimes it seems the birds win.

Patrick
06-18-2006, 05:21 PM
One thing about maintainig the MAPS projects.....

I think the MAPS Oversight Committee members warned us that the Use Tax Money should be preserved in a special fund to maintain the projects. Instead, the city opted to bypas their recommendation and use the use tax money to build Bass Pro Shops. Big mistake in my opinion.

If the Brick develops major structural damage, for some reason or another, the city has no money in savings to repair it. Hold your breath.

Patrick
06-18-2006, 05:28 PM
In response to OTG, I really appreciate you mentioning your concerns more here. Please, please, run for council in the near future! LOL! We need more people with an eye for detail running our city government.

In adding to his list, I must comment that the overhangs on the north side of the Cox Convention Center look absolutely horrible. The city fixes them, and a few days later, a large truck gashes them again. I think instead of continuing to repair these overhangs, we need to redesign them so they cover the exterior sidewalk of the Cox Center, but not the drive up. That would prevent the problem.

Also, OTG, I believe there are still more renovations planned for the south side of the Cox Center, last I heard.

But, I do agree completely about the issue with the windows. We need to hire some professional window washers to clean those windows from time to time, like all of the major businesses do downtown.

Our problem in this city has always been maintenance and attention to the small details. We seem to be missing the boat there. And, as has been mentioned, it's a city-wide problem. Just go out to Hefner Trails. The landscaping out there is pitiful. Many of the trees on the east side of the lake have died over the years and have never been replaced. The east side of the canal looks barren.

I feel our parks department as a whole needs more funding, and needs improving. I think that would go a long ways to improving the beautification problems in our city. I'd be all in favor of a permanent 1/8 cent sales tax for Parks and Recreation, similar to that set up for our zoo. This would go towards better maintenance of our parks, and more plantings.

The Old Downtown Guy
06-18-2006, 07:06 PM
Just to clear a couple of things up, the contract to maintain Main Street (with DOKC, not BID) does not begin until July 1, 2006.

I hope your Downtown OKC contract to maintain Main Street contains language stipulating that on July 1, 2006, the plant material will all be healthy, the beds properly mulched and free from weeds and the sprinkler/irrigation system in good working order. That is not the situation on East Main Street at this point. Again, I am not laying blame, I was simply pointing out the obvious.


Regarding litter, the BID can only maintain the street and up to 10 feet (maybe 8 feet, I will check on Monday) of sidewalk to the property line. The remainder is the responsibility of the property owner.

The list of deficiencies in my original post are the responsibility of several different public entities not just Downtown OKC and the BID, and perhaps some private businesses as well. Those that are responsible for the appearance and maintainence of the problem areas I pointed out should take a look and take care of the problems. The Ford Center has glass windows and doors that are obviously filthy. Anyone passing by can see that. So, there is either not be a responsible individual passing by on a regular basis or no regular scheduled window washing at the Ford Center. Either way, the result is nasty windows on our MAPS arena.

The Old Downtown Guy
06-30-2006, 04:41 PM
PROGRESS TO DATE @ 7:05 AM on June 30,2006:

Damn little !!!!!

1. Most of the dead trees have been removed from the canal; most, not all.
2. Most of the barren flower beds have been planted with annuals; most, not all.
3. A few weeds may have been pulled; very few.

That's not much, but it's a start.

Though not in my original post, I mentioned the condition of the Buffalo Coral; knee high weeds and trash, to Councilwoman Willa Johnson. Perhaps she contacted the property owner. Anyway, it's mowed and spruced up now. Thanks Willa.

I also mentioned to her, the temporary fence on the south side of Main, just east of the tracks, that has collected an enormous amount of litter in addition to looking tacky just on its own. She was going to look into that issue too.


One thing about maintaining the MAPS projects.....

I think the MAPS Oversight Committee members warned us that the Use Tax Money should be preserved in a special fund to maintain the projects.. . .

You're absolutely right Patrick. The Oversight Committee and a lot of people expressed their concerns about on going maintenance of the MAPS funded projects.

And now for the rant!

Oh, to hell with it. I'm going to get a cold beer and start enjoying the long weekend. Hope all of you do the same.

metro
07-03-2006, 12:13 PM
ODG, next time you talk to someone, mention all the tall grass in weeds in vacant lots in Midtown, from Classen east to around Hudson or so, just east of St. Anthony and South until about the new Federal building, a lot of vacant lots and boarded up houses are becoming seriously neglected.

Flatlander
07-03-2006, 05:58 PM
Good job Downtown Guy,thanks to all of the people who were involved.

The Old Downtown Guy
10-18-2006, 10:22 AM
Mid-October has arrived on the Bricktown Canal and freshly planted beds of pansies greeted this old guy and a couple of other early AM joggers this morning. A thumbs-up to the OKC Parks Department for making the seasonal planting changes. Most of the planting beds and other features in the area are looking far better than they were when I started this thread. There are still a couple of annoying problems down there, but the sprinkler systems were all repaired during the summer and the dead trees removed.

Unfortunately only the lower windows at the Ford Center were cleaned during the summer and they are beginning to look bad again. But they seem to be keeping the hand prints off of the door glass so I guess you could say that we've seen a little progress. I'm still pretty disappointed with the window cleaning over there and I guess more phone calls are in order.

Across the street at the Cox, three or four of the concrete bollards flanking the drive to the big overhead doors on the SW corner of the building have been knocked over and reinstalled several times since the MAPPS remodel and they have been laying by the metal railing along the street for a couple of months now. Apparently, kids are having a little fun rolling them around because they seem to be migrating east. Sooner or later, some dumbass will roll one of them into the middle of Reno and the ensuing car crash will get the attention of whoever it is that's responsible for keeping this building in shape. This is one of those deals that is so obvious, you wonder if anyone is actually in charge down there.

metro
10-18-2006, 11:42 AM
keep up the good work ODG, if you let us know the contact name, number, and list of problems, I'll be glad to put a few calls in myself.

jbrown84
10-22-2006, 02:24 PM
I was involved in a car accident at Harvey and 10th about 10 days ago that including the running over of one of the recently planted streetscape trees. The tree was broken off at the base. I drove by at least a week later and the tree was still there. I couldn't believe that the city hadn't picked it up by then.

The Old Downtown Guy
01-07-2007, 02:53 PM
I was out on a jog this incredible sunny Oklahoma City moring and am happy to report that there has been considerable improvement in the situations and conditions that prompted my original post.

Of special note, all of the metal posts around the trees along the southern portion of the Bricktown canal have now been removed. The planting beds are in much better shape with the addition of more metal edging, mulch and a more timely schedule of seasonal plantings. The general landscape maintainence along the canal is much better and perhpas this spring will see more improvement with repairing the few remaing areas of erosion and replacing the foundation planting materials that have been lost.

Down in the Myriad Garden, the broken sidewalks have all been repaired and more attention is being paid to the general appearance of the walk around the central pond. The improvements planned for the water stage with the arrival of Shakespear In The Park will make this a premier urban park.

Litter continues to be a problem in Bricktown, but perhaps somewhat less than a few months back. There is still a chainlink fense along the south side of Main Street that catches a lot of blowing trash and I don't understand why it is being allowed to remain there. It certainly wasn't approved by the Bricktown Design Review Commission and doesn't fit in at all.

Some of the windows and doors on the Cox and Ford Centers got washed a couple of times last summer, but they aren't kept up to a very high standard. And, quite frankly, I don't understand why there isn't a window washing contractor taking care of those two important facilities on a monthly basis. So, while there has been improvement, there is more work to be done.

Though it would be nice if everything just took care of its self and City government did everything it is charged with in a timely and efficient manner, that simply isn't the case. I know that many calls were made to elected officials last summer about these and other public property maintainence issues, and hopefully a greater awareness of the importance of taking care of our common space has resulted, but continued vigilance will be helpful in keeping these issues high on the City's radar screen.