View Full Version : OKC Renaissance Fading?

09-03-2006, 10:10 PM
I read a post that stated that OKC's progress was slowing in recent years, and hasn't been at the same level it was during MAPS. I somewhat agree. Our city government doesn't seem to be planning much for the futurte right now. Seems like if the renaissance were still rolling, we'd already have proposals for MAPS III on the table. What do you guys think?

09-04-2006, 09:00 AM
Patrick, you are probably right things are slowing down. I would probably point to the city's #1 cheerleader chasing dreams of going to Washington as one of the causes.

09-04-2006, 09:31 AM
I strongly disagree.

At long last, we have 3 new hotels nearing completion and others planned. We finally have housing under construction, and lots of it. Midtown has dozens of projects that are just being kicked off. The Health Science Center is going crazy still. And it looks like we will have a permanent NBA team within a year. Good night, go read the Skyline Snapshot on It's longer than ever.

What seems to be happening is that private development is now taking the place of all the public projects, and they are always smaller and the cumulative effect of dozens of smaller projects is never as noticable as a few, huge public buildings.

But IMO, the private investment/development is much more important and a much better signal of the strength of the community.

The next big test will be after some of the housing and hotel projects are complete. If they do well, that will spur even more development and perhaps some bigger, sexier stuff.

09-04-2006, 09:58 AM
I think that when all these current developments open up, it will spur a new round of development. I don't think it's so much a fading renaissance... just less media coverage while all these projects are being built.

the pledge
09-04-2006, 11:23 AM
i wholeheartedly disagree. The "renaissance" is just beginning, as we're witnessing a lot of private investment downtown as a result of the public projects. The question is if the city can keep building momentum over the next several years and attract some major corporations in the future. The city doesn't need more publicly-funded MAPS projects, it needs more private investment--the true indicator of a Renaissance. As others have stated the degree of success with the first "wave" of downtown residential construction will paint a better picture of what's to come.

09-04-2006, 11:53 AM
By the way, I didn't want it to appear that I was posting a negative thread.....just wanted to open up the topic for discussion since I saw it mentinoed elswhere on the forum. Hope that clears things up.

09-04-2006, 07:06 PM
Even a rennaisance has its slower periods, nothing keeps going on and on without slowing down, once MAPS III begins, things will pick up pace again. Just because MAPS III isn't here yet doesn't mean the city as a whole is slowing down in its progress, just that we're in a slower period. Nothing wrong with it. Besides, we have several other things going on right now, the ARINC hangar out at OKC, hotel renovations downtown, more businesses coming here, and of course something's always going on in Norman.


09-04-2006, 07:54 PM
The one thing that has not shown that we are in a renaissance is not having a new tower constructed downtown. When people pass through or stop in OKC and they see our existing skyline, they see buildings that have been around for tens of years. There is no WOW factor. If I were to travel to OKC for the first time, my impression would be that there isn't really a boom going on here, unless I were to get off the freeway and take the city's major arterials and drive through new subdivisions in the suburbs. The point is, nobody can tell there is a true renaissance unless they know all that HAS happened, IS happening and WILL happen in the future. A good example is that of my parents who live in the DFW area. They moved to Nashville in 1987 while OKC was going through the oil bust and then moved to the Fort Worth area in 1996. They haven't lived here in nearly 20 years and they have no idea what is going on in OKC because they really don't see it. I had to explain the whole MAPS program and how the city lured the NBA Hornets here. Because they don't see new construction of towers downtown from the freeway, they assume there is nothing of significance going on here. It's frustrating at times when I talk so positive about OKC and then I realize who I'm talking to and where they actually live. We all know that DFW has been a huge thorn in our attempt to become much larger than we are. One would think that if there was no Dallas, OKC would be home to over 5 million people. Nashville hasn't allowed Atlanta to rule the roost, so to speak. I use that comparison because when I lived in Nashville in the late 1980's, I always heard that they were going to be the next Atlanta. Now, I think they are since the population is 1.5 million and growing rapidly, plus the pending construction of the tallest tower outside of New York and Chicago expected to open by 2009. The distance between those cities is nearly the same as our proximity to the Dallas area. If we have the attitude that we CAN be the next Dallas, only better, then we will truly be in a renaissance that people can see through there own eyes. This city needs to think much grander than it does now.

09-04-2006, 09:27 PM
Perfect. That is how I describe what you just said. The problem is, how do we get people to have the same attitude?

09-04-2006, 10:08 PM
I don't think I would call it a "Renaissance Fading," but yes, I think Oklahoma City is very much resting on its laurels of MAPS and the success of Bricktown. In fact, I'm surprised at the number of posts who don't agree. Everything that kicked off "the renaissance" was on the map in the early 1980's. That was over twenty years ago!

Here we are in 2006 without any coordinated "big plan" to continue what MAPS began. The real question is not IF we have any plans (clearly we don't), but WHAT they should be. Yes, there are private projects going on here and there, but as far as anything as integrated as PEI in the 60's, Bricktown and MAPS in the 80's and 90's? The answer is no. Frankly, the leadership is lacking. There is no "big picture" visionary who has stepped up to the plate.

Let me make it clear that I don't think government is necessarily the answer, but the local government has a crucial role to play through its many tentacles of planning and oversight. Unfortunately, some of those agencies, authorities, etc. are - frankly - corrupt. We need a visionary Mayor who has the guts to not reappoint members of various agencies and firmly take a stand for the long-term interests of the city, as opposed to the short-term lining of the pocketbooks of an elitist good old boy network.

To me, the question is, what should that visionary plan for Oklahoma City look like? Maybe it was the way the question in the original post was framed that led to such a response as I've read above. I truly don't see how any of us can say there is a coordinated, long-term visionary goal for the next thirty years for our city. There either is one or there is not. If there is one - could someone please point me to it and wake me from my slumber?


09-05-2006, 08:11 AM
I just returned from a weekend visit to OKC and as a native Oklahoman(Lawton) which really sucks, I must say although progress has been made, Oklahoma City is still woefully lagging in basic amentities one expects from a major city. Downtown is not vibrant after hours, no shoppping etc. I do not want to believe that Oklahnoma will forever be relegated to 2nd or 3rd tier status among states, but these are some of my observations. Oklahomans are fat (billy and betty bob are alive and well in Oklahoma), Oklahomans smoke alot, haven't you gotten the message (why all these Indian smoke shops?) wonder why health care costs are so high in Oklahoma (duh). Oklahomans LOOK poor and uneducated. Sorry but not shoes and shirts standard attire. When development does occur it's done second rate. You rave about your airport expansion but I have been through airports in cities much smaller than OKC and they are equal to or better. I do not know what it will take for Oklahoma to progress beyond where it is today, but I do believe without a fresh influx (population projections suggest this will not happen) of people who haven't been stiffled by low expectations, my home State (that I really do love) will always remain at the bottom of most areas related to quality of life. JUST MY OPINION

09-05-2006, 10:23 AM
The premise of the thread implies a curious correlation between the absence of a citywide tax initiative tied to a public works project. A "Renaissance" hardly has to (and ideally shouldn't) be tied to either.

Oklahoma City took a gamble with MAPS, and it appears to be paying off. The renaissance isn't about the tax plan, it's about the *private* investment that will necessarily take the ball and run with it.

That's the inherent risk with such public projects - they often fund projects in which the market has absolutely no interest. Fortunately, MAPS worked to the extent that it renewed interest in downtown, revitalized a lousy part of the area, and made some individual developers extremely rich. But that's not a renaissance.

When private dollars, private funding, and private risk go into the area to perpetuate what's been started, *that* will be the sign of a renaissance. In that vein, the renaissance has only just begun.


09-05-2006, 11:18 AM
I think you will feel better in 2007 when you will actually see the current projects finishing up, but there are some good points raised here.

OKC obviously needed publicly financed public works projects to revitalize itself. The interest in this city just wasn't there without it. We want to avoid tax and spend initiatives that only benefit a few private investors, but we also have to realize that, relatively, Oklahoma does not have many inherent assets (major ports, natural beauty, etc.) that give it a competitive advantage over other cities. In that regard, it does make sense for us to collectively try to improve and add value to our community with projects like the canal and the river.

However, the real test of success of these projects is the private investment it creates. The real intent of these projects is to make Oklahoma City as attractive of an investment (in terms of money and ones life) as other communities that may have either more natural assets or a large head start in their infrastructure and attractions.

In my mind, if Oklahoma City's renaissance has experienced a slow down, it has been because of a lack of pride taken in protecting the improvements made by MAPS through encouraging more significant and impressive developments that directly benefit from those improvements. I think writerranger makes some good points. The good ole boy network seems to have slowed the renaissance by playing favorites instead of picking the best or most inspiring development when the city or its authorities had the chance to do so.

In my mind the city tax payer elected to spend millions of its own money on the city, yet the leadership has repeatedly sold us out by not asking for more from the developers who are benefiting greatly from that investment. I think this has happened for a couple of reasons:

1) Small minded short term leadership often takes the position that "it's good enough for us" instead of trying to make it better than the rest.

2) Good ole boy favoritism has seemingly led (and we have to just guess here) city leaders to choose clearly inferior projects or developments over more comprehensive and grandiose ones.

I am really looking forward to 2007 for OKC. Honestly, if it busts, it may be time to start looking at other more progressive and developing communities in which to live. But I don't think it will fail at this point, but we do need to keep an eye on everyone else. We’ve taken a big leap to get to where we are, but OKC leadership needs to realize that another big leap is necessary if OKC wants to be a major city in the future. This doesn't nessecarrily mean more sales tax initiative , but it certainly does mean more visionary and long term thinking leadership. I think that if the city’s guidance on river development is handled the same way as it was with the lower canal, we’ll be in big trouble in terms of competing with cities of similar size.

09-05-2006, 11:38 AM
Your observatioins are right on, I just hope there are others in Oklahoma City like you who both understand the challenges and communicate to leaders your desires. I am not ready to throw in the towel on my home States capital city, but I think MAPs development is our best opportunity to gather momemtum for real private investment and growth. My fear is that if OKC does not leverage MAPS for consistent growth the city will likely always remain a 2nd tier mid major.

09-05-2006, 12:51 PM
IMO, one our major problems is that we have no identity. We need to be something. Nashville has music…OKC has ?

09-05-2006, 01:54 PM
IMO, one our major problems is that we have no identity. We need to be something. Nashville has music…OKC has ?

okies, indians, bibles, rednecks... :)

09-05-2006, 07:40 PM
Even if your on the right track,you will get run over if you just sit there.
Will Rogers

09-06-2006, 07:20 PM
You rave about your airport expansion but I have been through airports in cities much smaller than OKC and they are equal to or better.

Name a few. I've been to airports big and small, (in fact I've been to over 15 airports worldwide-from DFW to Frankfurt am Main) and I can say without any doubts that the new terminal at OKC definitely ranks up there. In fact, OKC's terminal is WAY better than that sad excuse of an airport that is Paris Charles de Gaulle. OKC's terminal is one of the few facilities to have cell phone chargers and wireless internet access, two of the things travellers deem important while travelling yet which some of the so-called "passenger friendly" airports don't even have yet.


11-11-2006, 08:19 PM
Although this is a relatively dead thread ;-), I figured I'd add the link for the executive summary of Forward OKC III, located at: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber - Forward OKC III - Executive Summary (

I really don't see the Renaissance fading due to the growths we've experienced. Though I know it goes against the Renaissance lable, I'd rather see Oklahoma City be exciting and progressive over the years than to be a Boomtown as it had been, bottoming out at the heigth of the growth due to lack of support as it had before.

11-11-2006, 08:43 PM
Although this is a relatively dead forum,

??????? This is the most active city-based forum in the state of Oklahoma.

11-11-2006, 09:42 PM
??????? This is the most active city-based forum in the state of Oklahoma.

Patrick, I think that he's meaning to say "thread" instead of "forum". He's also calling his MG thread a new "forum". :doh: Welcome to the Thread Spectral. :smile:

11-11-2006, 09:58 PM
Patrick, I think that he's meaning to say "thread" instead of "forum". He's also calling his MG thread a new "forum". :doh: Welcome to the Thread Spectral. :smile:

Haha, ohhh the egg on my face! Forgive me, I'll do some editing.

...and if anyone would wish, please edit my MG thread haha :Smiley078

I meant no disrespect, Patrick. I love these forums!