An overwhelming majority of Oklahoma City’s likely voters believe the municipality is on the right track and has done a good job handling the MAPS funds, according to a recent poll.
The exclusive poll of 303 registered Oklahoma City voters was conducted by SoonerPoll.com, sponsored by Oklahoma Gazette and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.26 percent. Participants answered questions from live interviewers via telephone between Dec. 27 and Dec. 29, 2010.
Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed said the city is on the right track, while 65 percent of those surveyed believe the MAPS funds have been well-handled.
Across the political spectrum, from very liberal to very conservative, there is a positive view of the city’s direction and the handling of MAPS initiatives.
The same poll showed a majority of those surveyed were satisfied by the job performance of Mayor Mick Cornett and the City Council.
One of the poll’s respondents, Delores Cable, said she thought Oklahoma City was on the right track because of several aesthetic improvements to the city.
“I think they’ve improved our city a lot,” Cable said. “I don’t participate in any of them, but I like the way they took the old factories and things, and they’re making it into a fancy place for people to go and visit. It needs it.”
Three MAPS (metropolitan area projects) initiatives have been, or are currently being paid for by separate voter-approved 1 cent sales tax increases.
The first MAPS initiative passed by 54 percent of voters in 1993, and was responsible for funding the construction of what was the Ford Center (now the Oklahoma City Arena), the AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, a new downtown library, the Bricktown Canal, and renovations to the Cox Convention Center, State Fair Park and the Civic Center Music Hall, among other projects.
I think they’ve improved our city a lot.
—Delores CableThe next round of MAPS projects came in 2001 with the passage of MAPS for Kids, which funded more than 70 school projects, including renovations, construction of new school buildings, technology upgrades and upgrading school transportation. Though many of the MAPS for Kids projects have been completed, some have yet to be finished. The most recent initiative is MAPS 3, which passed in December 2009.
The projected $777 million to be generated by the tax will go toward eight major projects, including a downtown modern streetcar system, a new convention center, a 70-acre park between the heart of downtown and the Oklahoma River, health and wellness aquatic centers for seniors, improvements to the Oklahoma River, new walking and biking trails and renovations to the fairgrounds.
“If you look at the city throughout the growth of the MAPS program, I think the city has done quite well,” said Art Proctor, who said he approved of the way the MAPS funds have been handled. “I think on a scale of 1 to 10, they’ve probably done a 9.”