O’Connor: MAPS 4 will have positive social, economic impact

The package of MAPS 4 projects approved by the Oklahoma City Council last week will go to a vote of the people on Dec. 10.

This election is an important next step in the city’s continued development. The package of 16 projects is a synergistic solution to a wide range of some of the toughest social issues. But the projects will also have a significant economic development impact.

The estimated $978 million package will bring jobs. This steady stream of construction projects over the life of the MAPS 4 program will keep our architects, engineers, contractors and trades busy regardless of the ebbs and flows of the economy.

The transformation of the Innovation District will support the growth of jobs, not just in the district, but across the city. Creating a strong innovation infrastructure and entrepreneurial ecosystem will help Oklahoma City further diversify its economy, protect its residents from economic stress and secure additional tax base that is critical to providing citizen services.

The first phase of development of the district is expected to create an additional annual impact of $1.2 billion, with more than 3,000 permanent jobs and another 3,500 induced or secondary jobs. Many of the jobs created in the district will not require a four-year degree, yet they offer competitive wages, likely to exceed the average wage for Oklahoma County. The Innovation District MAPS 4 projects are an ideal application of the MAPS model. They are transformative public investments that will spur private investment, create jobs and improve lives.

MAPS 4 also focuses on vulnerable populations and difficult social issues that have compounding social and economic effects. Earlier interventions for domestic violence, substance abuse and addiction, homelessness, affordable housing, mental health, criminal justice and youth services will reduce emergency situations and trauma experienced by citizens in Oklahoma City.

The 16 projects put forward by our city leadership represent the recurring themes submitted over and over by citizens wanting stronger safety nets and the ability to focus on more comprehensive prevention services. MAPS 4 is crafted to improve quality of life for all people in Oklahoma City, get ahead of issues, and deliver the right help to people faster. The legacy of this project will be our commitment to helping our friends and neighbors through careful planning, development and funding.

Cathy O’Connor is the president of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

Read the original piece at journalrecord.com.