supports his premise with statistics and facts from other projects and
cities. This kind of research is vital when entering into something as
important as the expenditure of taxpayer funding. We must be careful to
remember, however, that facts and statistics can be read multiple ways
and stated in a supportive fashion rather than negative. For example,
yes, nationwide convention business is down since 2008. Everything went
down in ’08. I would be interested to know how Oklahoma City’s
convention business compared with the national average from 2009 to ’11
while major cities were experiencing declines.
it doesn’t change the fact that OKC voted for MAPS 3 as a whole, not
piecemeal. Yes, occasionally, we do need course corrections to
accommodate changing needs when planning long-term. For example, Core to
Shore adjustments were made after the completion of improvements to the
Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Like an aircraft altering
its course to get to its destination, we, too, need to alter ours — but
still we must get our passengers to the destination we promised. I
followed the MAPS 3 campaign closely and was well aware that the
convention center would need a convention hotel. To claim not to know
that would be an admission of apathy, or admission of a choice not to
Through MAPS and its influence, we have a
downtown ballpark, arena and canal; a new library; downtown hotels that
generate revenue for the entire city; new businesses downtown; a river
that is home to Olympic champions and a thriving NBA team.
to the vision held by former mayors Ron Norick and Kirk Humphreys and
current Mayor Mick Cornett, we have a downtown. They didn’t talk about
why it wouldn’t work. They made it work. All of these remarkable
entities will help us build the walkable destinations and quality-of-life
improvements. Without them, we have no destinations to which to walk.
around the Skirvin Hilton Hotel and envision a parking lot. Walk along
the Bricktown canal and see a potholed California Street. Walk around
the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark and see a dusty field. Walk around the
Oklahoma River and envision someone mowing it rather
than rowing in it. Walk around the Devon tower and envision nothing.
Walk around any of those without MAPS and you walk either without
sidewalks or on very poor ones.
We need leaders with
vision! Shadid’s approach reminds me of the three bricklayers. The first
bricklayer was asked what he was doing, and he responded, “Can’t you
see? I’m stacking these bricks!” The second bricklayer was asked what he
was doing, and he said, “Can’t you see? I am building a wall.” The
third bricklayer was asked the same, and he dusted his hands, stood up,
smiled and said, “Can’t you see? I’m building a cathedral!” Which
bricklayer do we want to be?
Which one do we want leading us?
—Harold Patterson Oklahoma City