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After months of meetings, the MAPS 3 convention center subcommittee has chosen a location for the proposed building.
After months of meetings, the MAPS 3 convention center subcommittee has chosen a location for the proposed building. The
group accepted the recommendation of its consultant, Populous Inc., to
place the center just west of the Oklahoma City Arena, where several
former car lot sites now stand.
But with that acceptance came concerns from subcommittee members about $30 million that was included in the originally proposed $280 million price tag. None said they were aware of its true purpose until after the December 2009 vote on MAPS 3.
When the committee planning the Core to Shore area south of the current central business district completed its final recommendations in 2008, a proposed convention center was placed south of the Oklahoma City Arena and on the east side of a proposed park.
That placement turned out to not be a slam dunk, as
eliminated it from its list of possible sites before adding it back to
mix in April. When the convention center was placed on the MAPS 3
price tag was $280 million. What many say they didn’t know at the time
passage was that $30 million would be used to relocate an OG&E
substation on that site. Kirk Humphreys, former mayor and a member of
subcommittee, said that amount was misleading, and not what people
were voting for.
As presented, the three finalists were Core to Shore North (the eventual winner), Core to Shore South and the East Bricktown Site. The Bricktown and north C2S sites were budgeted at $250 million, since no utility needed to be moved. The south C2S site included the utility removal and was budgeted at $280 million, Populous staff confirmed.
That did not sit well with subcommittee members.
“If we’re going to keep faith with the voters, the convention center is a $280 million project,” Humphreys said. “You can’t revise history in a way that is not accurate. It was put on the city website as a $280 million project.”
Larry Nichols, subcommittee member, said different price tags for the three projects didn’t make sense.
“This is not apples-to-apples at all,” he said.
Members questioned MAPS 3 Program Manager Eric Wenger and the Populous team on the difference in price depending on the site. Wenger said the $30 million was being factored as a separate project if the center was placed in the C2S south site. Humphreys said that was not what voters approved when they voted for MAPS 3.
At a joint meeting between the city council and the citizens board last month, Mayor Mick Cornett said toward the end of the MAPS 3 campaign he revealed that $30 million of the convention center budget would go toward moving the OG&E station. City council members said they had no knowledge of any such conversations and could not verify that claim.
Nichols made a motion that in a final report that the consultants complete an apples-to-apples comparison in relation to cost for all three sites. Humphreys made a motion to bump up the start of convention center design to 2013. Both motions were seconded and passed unopposed.
In the convention center site analysis presented to subcommittee members by Populous Senior Principal Todd Voth and his team, the north C2S site scored 342, based on numerous factors. East Bricktown scored 310 and C2S south scored 296. Populous listed 13 pros and only three cons for the North C2S site.
If approved by the MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board, the
measure will ultimately go before city council.