Point of View: MAPS 4, a chance for OKC to continue its transformation

Via The Oklahoman 

BY RON NORICK 

MAPS 4 brings together 16 projects to address Oklahoma City's current needs and continue to build on the legacy of the work we have done before. We are continuing to look at what our city needs to move forward and continuing to seed the growth of our economy, while at the same time, we are building up our neighborhoods and helping those who need it the most.

At the core of what we wanted to do in 1993 was to answer this question — how do we make Oklahoma City a better place to live? Every one of the MAPS programs has done that, and so does MAPS 4. Our kids are staying here. We are attracting more people to live here. And we also creating a stronger economy.

If you look back to our community in 1993 and today, the difference is dramatic. The before and after images are striking but I don’t really think the biggest change is the physical redevelopment — although that is obviously impressive. The biggest change is attitude — we saw what happens when we work together and we learned how important it is that we invest in ourselves first. The pride people have for this place just continues to grow. We aren’t waiting for someone to take care of our problems, not the state, not Washington, D.C., not a company to bring jobs — we know we can create the future we want. And we have a chance to do that again.

The secret to this program lies in both its structure and the citizen engagement. First is the combination of projects, which is a very powerful way to address community needs together. In every iteration of MAPS, there are projects that really only reach their potential when combined with one or more of the other projects. It is truly a strategic mix. Second is the debt-free construction. It really gives the city more flexibility and makes these projects more functional. Finally, the citizen oversight component is so important because it keeps the citizens' vision and desires front and center.

Read the rest of the piece at oklahoman.com.