Oklahoma City - Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS)


200 North Walker, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"In a time of economic upheaval and downtrending, the City of Oklahoma City Metropolitain Area Projects (MAPS) provides a stellar example of what can be done to revitalize cities and bring back new growth and life to what was formerly a struggling major metropolitan area. MAPS has not only injected new life into Oklahoma City, but served as a catalyst for continued growth across the board - - business, transportation, housing, and enhanced public gathering spaces - - have created new jobs and new hope, and will serve as a model for other communities brave enough to embark on such undertakings."

Therese Carpenter
Environmental Scientist
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality

Additional Project Participants who should be recognized:
  • The citizens of Oklahoma City
  • The City of Oklahoma City, 100 N. Walker, 4th Floor, Oklahoma City, OK 73102
  • Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority, 204 N. Robinson, Suite 2400, Oklahoma City, OK 73102 (green highlighted groups nominated as recipients of the award)

Executive Summary.

The oil boom that ended in the early 1980s and the traumatic collapse of the Oklahoma's energy business led to substantial out-migration, failure of financial institutions, excess capacity in real estate, and fiscal crises in state government. The inner city fell into a period of economic stagnation that persisted through the 1980s and into the 1990s. A serious lack of infrastructure was the limiting factor in attracting potential major investors and employers. Around this time, an ambitious redevelopment proposal for rebuilding the City's core, known as Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) was developed by city officials and was presented before the electorate. Instead of using separate bond issue propositions for each of the proposed projects and risk achieving voter approval of only a few projects, all the selected projects were placed on a single ballot that proposed a five year, penny sales tax that would pay for costs.

This was a unique approach at trying to garner public support for the different projects and also achieve the overall vision of growth of the economy and community. What were once stockyards, oilfields, refineries, and abandoned warehouses with environmental contamination have been transformed over time into vibrant, healthy business and community centers. Some of the private development in Oklahoma City would have been possible without the giant leap in marketability that was brought about facilities provided by MAPS but those initiatives would certainly have been much smaller and slower to develop. If it were not for the citizens of Oklahoma City and their willingness to create their own future, MAPS may have ended up as just another "great idea" languishing from a lack of funds and public support. Oklahoma City's residents supported the vision that if the City provided state of the art facilities and infrastructure, private investment would soon follow transforming blighted areas into lively, healthy communities and leading to a strong economy. The MAPS projects serve as an example of a successful collaboration between private and public sectors worthy of emulation.

  • MAPS were funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax approved by city voters in December 1993. The tax was later extended by a vote of the people for six months to cover cost increases during construction and expired on July 1, 1999.
  • During the 66 months it was in effect, over $309 million was collected. In addition, the deposited tax revenue earned about $54 million in interest, which was also used for MAPS construction.
  • A 21-member citizen oversight board was appointed by the Mayor shortly after voter approval of MAPS to review project components including financing and site location and then make recommendations to the City Council. The creation of such a board allowed those involved with implementation of MAPS to connect with a range of stakeholders from beginning to end. Financial planning for the MAPS program and subsequent successful programs was a result of a dynamic, interactive effort on the part of the community, small and large businesses, social and cultural service organizations, and municipal government.
  • The nine projects completed as part of MAPS included construction of a Bricktown ballpark, the Ford Center, the downtown library, Bricktown canal, renovation of the convention center, improvements to the State Fairgrounds, rebuilding of the Civic Center Music Hall, development of the North Canadian River into a seven-mile series of navigable river lakes called the "Oklahoma River", and the "Oklahoma Spirit" trolley system. The first of the MAPS projects, the Bricktown ballpark was opened in the spring of 1998 and the downtown library, the last of the MAPS projects, was dedicated in August, 17, 2004.
  • The City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Urban Renewal Authority (OCURA), a public body corporate, began the process of acquiring properties through purchase or condemnation of blighted areas and assembling them for development for the betterment of the City. Once the parcels consolidated under one owner, OCURA worked with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to evaluate the land for areas that needed further investigation and analysis. Two large parcels in the area were enrolled in the Oklahoma Voluntary Brownfields Redevelopment Program [27 A O.S. SSS2-15-101 et seq.]. Under Oklahoma law, all parties that participated in the cleanup, their lenders, lessees, successors and assigns receive the State Brownfield liability release. The subsequent owners, lenders, lessees, successors and assigns also receive the enforcement bar from CERCLA liability provided in the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Redevelopment Act. Leaking Underground Storage Tank cleanups and oil well plugging were pursued under the jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
  • Environmental reports indicated elevated levels of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, total petroleum hydrocarbons, and metals in the area. Several small plumes of petroleum contaminants in the Bricktown area were identified and investigated. Many of these plumes were found to be residual contamination from former gasoline service stations, former oil field operations, former refinery operations, and former bulk oil distribution centers. Soil and groundwater remediation, removal and disposal of underground tanks, abatement of asbestos in buildings, and capping of abandoned oil wells were also conducted by the City and OCURA on the various sites developed as part of MAPS and other subsequent redevelopment measures.
  • Direct and indirect benefits that ensued as a result of MAPSs were:
  • Remediation and transformation of underutilized and blighted urban brownfields into vibrant community centers.
  • Capital investments within Oklahoma City's downtown, including the MAPS projects, total approximately $3.1 billion since the initial vote approving MAPS. Another $1.9 billion has been announced.
  • A substantial increase in business in downtown and Bricktown - with more new businesses responding to the opportunities.
  • Development of housing, mixed use facilities, office space and parking facilities It also provided the infrastructure that attracted aN BA team to make Oklahoma City its permanent home.
  • World-wide recognition of the Oklahoma River as a venue for sports such as Olympic rowing, and kayaking and as a popular destination for fitness and recreation.
  • Development of Oklahoma City as a cultural center.
  • Empowered the residents of Oklahoma City to own their future and create the kind of community that they needed. "MAPS has changed not only the way we see ourselves and the way we feel about our city, it has changed the way people across the country and across the world think of and view Oklahoma City" Kirk Humphreys, Former Mayor of Oklahoma City.

1. What kind of long-term economic benefits did the project bring to the local community, such as population increase, job creation, tax revenue generation, just to name a few possible benefits?

The oil boom ended in the early 1980s and the traumatic collapse of the energy business led to substantial out-migration, failure of financial institutions, excess capacity in real estate, and fiscal crises in state government. Suburban sprawl and development of industry away from old commercial centers and closer to cheap land and the growing trucking industry resulted in underutilization of buildings in Bricktown. What was once a heavily industrial area busy with activity turned into a ghost of itself with empty warehouses and .abandoned derelict buildings with transients sheltering in every doorway.

Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) was Oklahoma City's visionary capital improvement program for new and upgraded sports, recreation, entertainment, cultural and convention facilities. It is believed Oklahoma City is the first city in the country to undertake a public facility enhancement project of this size. MAPS were funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax approved by city voters in December 1993. The tax was later extended by a vote of the people for six months to cover cost increases during construction. The tax expired on July 1, 1999. During the 66 months it was in effect, over $309 million was collected. In addition, the deposited tax revenue earned about $54 million in interest, which was also used for MAPS construction. The nine projects completed as part of MAPS included construction of a Bricktown ballpark, the Ford Center (arena), the downtown library, Bricktown canal, renovation of the Cox convention center, improvements to the State Fairgrounds, rebuilding of the Civic Center music hall, transformation of a seven mile stretch of the North Canadian River into river lakes, and the "Oklahoma Spirit" trolley system. The first of the MAPS projects, the Bricktown ballpark was opened in the spring of 1998 and the downtown metropolitan library, the last of the MAPS projects, was dedicated in August, 17, 2004.

The various MAPS projects were believed to be capable of improving the economy and attractiveness of this core and having a profound impact on proximal areas. The area needed extensive investment in infrastructure and services in order to draw in new or expanding businesses, events and other enterprises, essential for healthy and continual economic growth. Redevelopment of certain key facilities through the MAPS program helped bring in events and enterprises that were unlikely to have attracted by the severely limited facilities previously offered by Oklahoma City. The City desperately needed to encourage diverse private investment and downtown reinvestment in order to prevent economic fallout from sole reliance on a single industry -oil from happening again.

The oil bust and years of suburban sprawl severely damaged the vitality of the City core. The MAPS program stimulated the beginnings of a generational shift towards the inner city and this shift is slowly gaining prominence. MAPS projects helped create the Bricktown district on the eastern edge of downtown, drawing visitors to the Bricktown Canal, Bricktown ballpark, shopping, and restaurants. Spin-off development from the City's MAPS program is steadily gaining momentum as business and community organizations commit resources in the downtown area, particularly along the Bricktown Canal and the surrounding entertainment district. The success of MAPS allowed the City to create a downtown Business Improvement District, tax increment financing, leveraged grant funds, and loans to encourage reinvestment in the community. A more densely populated market place is being created in the inner city with initiatives like MAPS and successive projects like MAPS for Kids, work of civic groups, investments in streetscape projects, and the creation of an elaborate trail system connecting the inner city to the suburban rim. Trails running the length of the Oklahoma River on the north and south banks are part of the OKC Trails network and are open for runners, walkers, skaters and bikers.

The MAPS program provided the money for investment into the riverfront transformation. The North Canadian River has been transformed into a seven mile series of expansive river lakes that have already hosted a prestigious rowing tournament. The Cox convention center triggered the construction of a hotel that connected to the convention center by a skywalk, providing ideal facilities for conventions and meetings. Condominiums and townhouses built in adjacent historic areas are almost completely occupied and additional residential development is being planned. The Oklahoma Museum of Art, in downtown Oklahoma City, built entirely with private funds was designed around a landmark movie theater that had been abandoned for more than 20 years and threatened with demolition. Investments in the area resulting from MAPS like the ballpark, canal, a refurbished convention center, a reconstructed music hall, a 20,000 seat arena, a library/learning center, and the Oklahoma River improvements has helped draw tourists, and local residents alike to the City's central core. The new downtown library has become a center of community activity. Concerts in the library's auditorium have been well attended. A very important link between core residential development and the library exists on a sustained daily basis. The "Oklahoma Spirit" trolley service makes getting around the downtown area convenient. The Oklahoma River is developing into a special tourist attraction with its boathouses for competitive rowing and its river cruisers that allow tours of the waterways and its locks. A new art museum, numerous dining and entertainment establishments in Bricktown, water taxi boat tours and a new sports retail establishment also add to the attractiveness of the area. A new 16-screen movie theatre complex brings thousands of movie viewers to Bricktown. The "Oklahoma City Thunder" a National Basketball Association team will be permanently housed at the Ford Center and their games have generated substantial increase in business in downtown and Bricktown- with more new businesses responding to the opportunities. Oklahoma City's central core is slowly but surely being transformed on a grand scale into a rising center of art and culture with great quality of life.

2. How were economic results measured and how swift was the return on investment?

Oklahoma City's economy has faced significant challenges during recent years. After the fall of the oil and gas industry during the 1980's, the City greatly needed broad-based economic incentives and public development programs to attract new business and jumpstart its slowing economy. Significant public and private development surrounding the MAPS downtown revitalization, building of a new federal campus to replace the Alfred P. Murrah building which was bombed in 1995, new highway construction, and significant new housing and commercial developments have all allowed Oklahoma City to resume a trend of growth and prosperity.

The City of Oklahoma City spent a total of $3,023,516 on the abatement of asbestos in buildings, underground tank disposal, soil and groundwater remediation, waste disposal, capping of an abandoned oil well and the hiring of environmental consultants. These costs were incurred for the MAPS sites that were redeveloped with public funds. The architectural design firm that developed the MAPS Master Plan was hired at a cost of $10 million by the City.

MAPS helped catalyze private-public partnership investments exceeding 3.1 billion dollars that included mixed use offices, upscale housing, arts and entertainment facilities and dramatically altered the public's perception of Downtown and Oklahoma City, creating a vibrant community with a lot to offer.

The $63.1 million renovation of the convention center, started in 1997 and completed in 1999, expanded it by 100,000 square feet. The facility's 15,000 seat arena is home to the Oklahoma City Blazers hockey team. From 2005 through 2007, the center hosted an average of 590,000 visitors a year. With upcoming events such as the 2010 Big XII Men's and Women's Basketball tournaments, attendance at the center is expected to continue to increase.

The most expensive of the nine MAPS initiatives at $87.7 million, the 581,000 square foot Ford Center has hosted several sports events, concert tours, and other artists. It also hosted the New Orleans HornetsN BA team for the 2005-2007 seasons. Following unprecedented attendance and citizen approval in March 2008 to publicly fund $100 million in improvements and a $21 million practice center, Oklahoma City now permanently hosts the Oklahoma City ThunderN BA team. Average attendance at the center from 2005-2007 was 1,067,000 and is expected to grow with the addition of a permanentN BA team.

The Civic Center Music Hall was a historic art deco building originally constructed in 1937 and renovated as a premier performing arts venue at a cost of $52.4 million. The music hall has seating for an audience of 3,200. MAPS funded construction began in 1998 and was completed in 2001. Attendance for the 2008 season was 314,100.

The 110,000 4-story downtown Metropolitan library houses a business information center, updated information services, classrooms and meeting spaces for area universities. Construction began in 2000 and was completed in 2004 at a cost of $21.5 million. The library was built on land that had been leveled by the urban renewal attempts decades earlier. Compared with the previous facility, book circulation increased by 113 percent in the first year of operation, and the number of library cards issued has climbed from 1,957 to 7,465. The library is the heart of a metropolitan system with 1.1 million items in its catalog. The library's 2nd floor houses a special collection on the Holocaust and the Oklahoma Collection, which dates back to pre-statehood. The Downtown Consortium of Colleges holds classes throughout the year on the library's 4th floor.

The renovation of the Civic Center and the decision to locate the library two blocks to the east considerably bolstered the standing of other civic buildings in west downtown. Concurrent to the MAPS campaign, museum leaders were able to raise $22.5 in private funds to renovate a historic theater and transform it into the new Museum of Art. In 2008 the museum drew 170,000 visitors. The museum now hosts a permanent exhibit of the most comprehensive collection of Dale Chihuly glass and hosts various exhibits from all over the country and abroad.

Construction of the Bricktown Ballpark began in 1996 and was completed in 1998 at a cost of $34.2 million. Home to the Oklahoma RedHawks, a Triple A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, and 15,000 of their fans, the ballpark has been named one of the nation's top two minor league baseball facilities. In 2007, attendance at the ballpark was 529,600, 92 percent above the league attendance average. This versatile facility is also used for community events, concerts, and recreational activities which include annual snow-tube slide open through the holiday season.

Following completion of the Cox convention center and the Bricktown Ballpark, the surrounding area has seen tremendous growth. The city's original skyscraper, the Colcord, was transformed from an office building into a boutique hotel, and the historic Skirvin hotel was restored to its original grandeur in 2007. Several other hotel chains have also situated establishments in the area. In total, downtown now boasts more than 1,800 hotel rooms with at least 200 more planned, which provide visitors with places to stay while they enjoy the various amenities of the area. This is in stark contrast to when there used to be only one major hotel in the downtown area in the 1990s. Seven substantial hotel facilities have been added and this addition is a significant reflection of how far Oklahoma City's central core has changed since MAPS began. Approximately $201.5 million has been invested in the area's hotel industry for the period since MAPS began until 2003.

MAPS funds totaling $14 million were used for the renovation and improvement of the State Fairgrounds. The project began in 1996 and was completed in 1998. The fairgrounds host one of the nation's largest state fairs, and are the leading equestrian center of the southwest. Construction of a $75 million new Equestrian Center at the fairgrounds with revenue generated from an increase in the area's hotel bed tax is almost complete. The fairgrounds draw over $100 million annually into the local economy.

The "Oklahoma Spirit" Trolley service began operations in 1999 with nine trolley replica buses that provided shuttle service and tours of the area. This service is particularly important between downtown and the hotels concentrated five miles to the west. The original cost of the project was $5.3 million. About 68,114 people utilized the trolley services in 2008. The Oklahoma City Transit Services Department received funding from MAPS and the Federal Transit Administration for the trolley system.

Bricktown Canal, extends through the Bricktown Entertainment District, and was opened in 1999 at a cost of $32.1 million. Shops, dining venues and entertainment, hiking and biking trails, and park areas with public art displays such as the $6 million Land Run sculpture, wall murals etc. are part of this rapidly developing area. Since the canal opened, adjacent properties have benefited from a 400 percent increase in properties and the area has seen over $150 million of investment initiatives.

The North Canadian River, a segment of which was renamed the Oklahoma River, was transformed from a ditch that had to be mowed several times a year into a 7-mile long series of river lakes with recreational activities and open space. This $23.1 million project began in 1999 and was completed in 2004. The River has since gained world-wide recognition as one of the top venues for popular sports such as rowing, kayaking and dragon boat racing and has quickly become a popular destination for fitness and recreation. It has also been named as the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team Training Center and the City was appointed as the host of the 2008 Olympic trials for kayaking and rowing. Four Universities have agreed to set up new training centers with a budget exceeding $30 million dollars. Over 143,847 people visited the Oklahoma River in 2008. The development potential of the river has also attracted the $150 million Native American Cultural Center and the $40 million Dell customer service center. The visual appeal of this riverfront location influenced the decision of Dell to locate at this specific site. The Dell facility has provided employment to about 2,000 workers. The City of Oklahoma City received a Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Pilot Grant in 1999 for implementation of passenger boats connecting nearby areas along the North Canadian River. A water taxi terminal has been constructed that allows visitors to shuttle between the airport or their hotels and downtown Oklahoma City and 141,686 people have used this service in 2008.

Downtown housing has also rapidly developed where no housing existed before. More than 1,200 new housing units have been added and 200 more are in various stages of planning. Some of these units were built from the ground up while others were designed to adapt and reuse existing structures. Studies have indicated a demand for up to 8,000-10,000 downtown housing units. Several new hotels, an Art Museum, a 16-screen cinema complex, and a host of dining venues have since opened their doors in Oklahoma City's downtown. Several large parking facilities have been constructed, facilitating access to the downtown area. Downtown is evolving into a complete 24/7 community where people can opt to live, work and seek entertainment and people have embraced this change.

Property values have also risen substantially in parts of downtown, especially in Bricktown. The aggregate market value of properties in the Bricktown area grew from $12.2 million in 1999 to $40.2 million in 2004. Plans for new investment at the nearby Oklahoma Health Center and the St. Anthony Hospital exceed $520 million. The City is planning on linking the two complexes with a "health corridor".

Due to the very visible success of the MAPS program, city voters approved two additional initiatives, MAPS II and MAPS for Kids, and a MAPS III is in the planning stages. MAPS II was implemented by a 32-month, half-cent, Police and Fire Equipment Sales Tax approved by voters in March, 2000. Improvements funded with this tax included police and fire vehicles, information systems, mobile data systems, and a city-wide 800 MHz radio communication system among several others. The MAPS for Kids program was made possible, when the City asked citizens to approve a dedicated city sales tax for the support of public schools within the corporate limits of Oklahoma City. The sales tax, approved by citizens in November, 2001, is projected to generate $500 million to provide the highest quality of public education to the children of Oklahoma City residents and improve the condition of educational facilities over the life of the tax. The MAPS III package is expected to include projects involving a large public park near downtown and mass transit system upgrades, items supported by public polls. Other projects have yet to be decided.

Spin-off development from the City's MAPS program is steadily gaining momentum as businesses and community organizations commit resources in the downtown area, particularly along the Bricktown Canal and the surrounding entertainment district. A downtown Business Improvement District, tax increment financing, leveraged grant funds, and loans to encourage reinvestment in the community are now in place to attract businesses to downtown. In March 2008, Devon Energy Corp. announced plans for construction of a 925 foot (54 floors) office building that would serve as corporate headquarters and house up to 3,000 employees, consultants and contractors at cost of $750 million. Construction is proposed to begin October 1, 2009 and be completed in December 2012. Up to 600 people are expected to be employed on the project. The Tax Increment Finance District (TIF) proposed for Devon's new building will be the eighth such district in Oklahoma City. A tax increment finance district, also known as a TIF, allows a city, town or county to use tax money generated by a new development to pay for public improvements in the development area. Improvements associated with redevelopment projects can be supported by bonds, with the debt to be repaid by money generated within the TIF district. The proposed TIF for the new Devon tower would, if created, last for 25 years and projects would be paid through a line of credit and long-term bond financing. The TIF dollars are proposed to be used for creation of a new downtown park, for overhauling the existing Myriad Gardens, improvements to the neighborhoods surrounding the Tower, and construction of an elementary school. The tax increment finance district is projected to generate $175 million over its 25-year life. Although Devon won't generate ad valorem revenue in the first five years of the plan, it will still pay about $20 million in city sales taxes during the construction phase. It is also estimated that the headquarters will generate about $800 million in real estate market value and $100 million in personal property value. The county's collection of personal property taxes on furniture, fixtures and equipment in the new tower also will be entirely directed into the TIF.

Ground was broken for the Devon Boathouse on June 1, 2009. The Oklahoma River used to be so dry that former Mayor Ron Norick recalls that it was part of the city's mowing program. This has since changed. As a result of a series of low-water dams, water constantly laps against a shoreline that has become lined with docks and rowers who practice and train for their sport on the river. The 33,000-square-foot boathouse will be constructed at a cost of $10million and will house Oklahoma City University's rowing program and will be a high-performance training center for some of the nation's most elite athletes. In addition to the Devon Boathouse, a boathouse for the University of Oklahoma's fledgling rowing program is planned, and University of Central Oklahoma officials have discussed building another one along the river.

After funding the existing boathouse, opened in January 2006, Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy, the nation's largest independent natural gas producer, is donating $5 million toward a four-story tower along the river to be named the Chesapeake Finish Line Tower. The 7,500-square-foot tower will stand 60 feet tall and be built of white architectural grade panels with clear and translucent glass, giving those inside a panoramic view of the rowing race course. This is truly the result of vision," said Mike Knopp, a rowing coach at OCU and executive director of the Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation. "The Devon Boathouse, the existing Chesapeake Boathouse, that opened in January 2006 and others planned are combining to give the city an international reputation for its support of rowing. You don't do that without a committed community", Knopp said.

Mr. Blake Wade, chairman of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission, said MAPS sparked a renewed interest in downtowns across the state. The impact of MAPS is visible throughout downtown, where investment is expected to top a billion in the next few years. Permanent job creation credited to MAPS: more than 1,000. Mr. Ralph McCalmont, interim director of the Oklahoma Department of Tourism, said MAPS has turned downtown into a destination. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce reports that 6.2 million people attended downtown events last year. The Core to Shore program was established by the City of Oklahoma City to maintain the momentum of MAPS and ensure that the area south of downtown is developed to be complimentary to, and not competitive with investments in downtown.

The Core to Shore program aims to realign Interstate 40 and replaced the old, worn out elevated lanes of the current freeway with a new boulevard at ground level. This move will bring significant changes to Oklahoma City, especially to the area between downtown (the "core") and the Oklahoma River (the "shore"). This will also open up a gateway to downtown and will offer new development opportunities and provide better access to neighborhoods and businesses throughout the area between downtown and the river. Completion for the new freeway is targeted for 2012.

In December 1993, Oklahoma City voters voted a limited-purpose, five year, one-cent City sales tax to fund the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) program. Subsequently, voters approved a six month extension of the tax. The tax expired on July 1, 1999. During the 66 months it was in effect, more than $309 million was collected. In addition, the deposited tax revenue earned about $54 million in interest. Except for improvements at the State Fairgrounds and the dam-lock-lake improvement to the North Canadian River/Oklahoma River, the MAPS projects were all located in the City's downtown central core. The City of Oklahoma City imposed a one cent use tax on goods imported into the City from outside Oklahoma, creating a MAPs Operations Fund to cover initial operating costs of the various projects. The Oklahoma City Transit Services Department received funding from MAPS and the Federal Transit Administration for the trolley system. The Oklahoma River's original overall cost of $51.8 million included $39 million of MAPS sales tax money and federal funds through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The City of Oklahoma City also received a Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Pilot Grant in 1999 for implementation of passenger boats connecting nearby areas along the North Canadian River. The projects have been completed and are all debt-free. The amount spent in what was an ambitious and highly successful public-private partnership exceeded three billion dollars.

The City received more than $2 million in private donations to form a foundation for the Civic Center Music Hall. The donations came from the sale of naming rights to the nearly completed main performance hall, the hall of mirrors, rehearsal hall and theatre by the City. Half of the amount donated went towards completion of the Civic Center Music Hall.

Within the realm of Brownfields, Oklahoma City has been the recipient of two, $200,000 Assessment grants; a $200,000 Petroleum Cleanup grant; and a $2 million Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant, awarded in 2005. The grant's findings helped to leverage more than $2.3 million in cleanup and more than $49 million in redevelopment funds from the public and private sectors, creating new transportation facilities, commercial redevelopment, and a Native American Cultural Center for residents and visitors to Oklahoma City. The EPA Revolving Loan Fund award has also played a significant role in the City's overall revitalization plan; among other projects, it funded the cleanup and removal of asbestos, mold, and lead paint from the historic Skirvin Hotel, which had been dormant for decades. One of the key accomplishments of the Skirvin Hotel restoration project was that it leveraged approximately $66 million for cleanup and redevelopment efforts. In 2007, EPA announced that the following the Oklahoma City had been selected to receive $250,000 in supplemental funding to replenish its RLF grant.

The City of Oklahoma City was chosen as a federal urban Empowerment Zones in January 2002, and most of downtown area has been included in the City's Empowerment Zone (EZ). The EZ is a federally designated area created by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to facilitate the self-sustaining, long-term revitalization of economically distressed, high poverty neighborhoods in the United States. The Empowerment Zone initiative promotes public-private collaboration and strives to serve as a catalyst for business start up, expansion and job retention by providing a pool of tax breaks and incentives for businesses and employees in the Zone. By statute, funds for these programs would come from the issuance of general obligation bonds by the district involved. These loans can be for up to 100% of the estimated cost of the building and equipment. Employees living and working within the EZ also benefit by becoming more marketable to EZ businesses. Some employers have passed their savings back to their employees in the form of bonuses, down payment home-buyer assistance, and enhanced health benefits and training programs to advance their careers.

3. Was the project completed on time and on budget?


The first of the MAPS projects, the Bricktown ballpark was opened in the spring of 1998 and the downtown metropolitan library, the last of the MAPS projects, was dedicated in August, 17, 2004. MAPS were funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax approved by city voters in December 1993. The tax was later extended by a vote of the people for six months to cover cost increases during construction.

4. What was most challenging about your project?


One of the challenges faced in getting this public-private partnership off the ground was selecting the right mix of projects that would allow community buy-in, and also be enough to achieve the "critical mass" necessary to make a difference in the city. The list was finally pared down to the nine projects that were ultimately developed. Mr. Ron Norick, Oklahoma City Mayor at that time, was instrumental in getting city leaders to agree on presenting an all or nothing approach to the electorate. All of the selected projects were placed on a single ballot that proposed payment of project costs by a five year, penny sales tax. Mr. Norick continued in a role of project champion when cost overruns threatened completion of projects and public sentiment seemed to sour, and was successful in winning voter approval of a six month extension of the sales tax to cover the added costs.

5. Did the project receive any loans, grants or financial assistance from any public or private organizations?

Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) were funded by a temporary one-cent sales tax approved by city voters in December 1993. The tax was later extended by a vote of the people for six months to cover cost increases during construction. The tax expired on July 1, 1999. During the 66 months it was in effect, over $309 million was collected. In addition, the deposited tax revenue earned about $54 million in interest, which was also used for MAPS construction. The nine projects completed as part of MAPS included construction of a Bricktown ballpark, the Ford Center (arena), the downtown library, Bricktown canal, renovation of the Cox convention center, improvements to the State Fairgrounds, rebuilding of the Civic Center music hall, transformation of a seven mile stretch of the North Canadian River into river lakes, and the "Oklahoma Spirit" trolley system.

MAPS was an ambitious downtown renewal package undertaken by the citizens of Oklahoma City, city leaders, and other stakeholders. It is believed Oklahoma City is the first city in the country to undertake a public facility enhancement project of this size. The one-cent temporary sales tax approved by city voters in 1993 and its six month extension provided the much needed funds required to bolster public infrastructure and attract private development. The Oklahoma City Transit Services Department received funding from MAPS and the Federal Transit Administration for the trolley system. The Oklahoma River's original overall cost of $51.8 million included $39 million of MAPS sales tax money and federal funds through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The City of Oklahoma City also received a Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Pilot Grant in 1999 for implementation of passenger boats connecting nearby areas along the North Canadian River.

Empowerment Zone financing incentives available for the area included:

    EZ Employment Tax Credit: Employers may take up to $3,000 per year in tax credits for each employee who both lives and works in the EZ - a total of up to $24,000 per eligible employee over the 8-year designation period. Increased Section 179 Deduction: Qualifying Enterprise Zone businesses can claim up to $35,000 (an increase of $20,000) expensing for property acquired after December 31, 2001. The claim can be made for depreciable property - such as equipment and machinery. This is in addition to the $100,000 base amount for tax years 2003-2005.

    Tax-exempt EZ Bonds: $130 million in tax-exempt bond financing is available for Qualified Zone Property to finance development at a lower interest rate. Bonds may be issued by the State, County or City for commercial, retail or industrial property. Non-recognition of Gain on Sale of Empowerment Zone Assets: Capital gain on the sale of an Empowerment Zone asset, held for more than one (1) year, is not recognized if the gain is reinvested in a replacement Empowerment Zone asset within 60 days.

    Partial Exclusion of Gain on Sale of Empowerment Zone Stock: Excludes 60 percent of the gain on the sale of C Corporation stock if the stock has been held for at least (5) years and if the C Corporation is a qualified Enterprise Zone business located in the EZ. There are other federal and state funding programs that are not limited to the Empowerment Zone but which may also be tapped to reduce development costs within the EZ. These include New Market Tax Credits and the Murrah Revitalization District Revolving Load Fund. In an effort to reclaim contaminated land within the Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City's Office of Workforce Development used an EPA Brownfields Job-Training Grant to prepare 110 Empowerment Zone residents for careers in environmental remediation.

Other community wide tax incentives included:

    Work Opportunity Tax Credit: A 1-year tax credit of up to $2,400 for each new hire from groups with high unemployment rates or other special employment needs, including 18-24 year old individuals living in the Empowerment Zone and summer youth hires ages 16-17.

    Welfare to Work Tax Credit: A two year tax credit for new hires of long-term family assistance recipients that provides a sum of $3,500 in year one and $5,000 in year two - a possible total of $8,500 per qualified Welfare to Work new hire. Dell Computers constructed a 120,000 square-foot customer contact center on a 62-acre site in Oklahoma City in 2005. Empowerment Zone tax credits and other benefits were a major consideration for Dell when choosing a site for the center.

Other business and tax incentives available for the area include:

    Downtown OKC Business Improvement District (BID): The Downtown OKC Business Improvement District, approved by the City of Oklahoma City in 2001, is an area where property owners voted to for a special property assessment to make their community a better place. The special assessment fund is used to manage and maintain Downtown OKC in a clean, safe and professional manner, and to purchase services and make improvements that add to those provided by the City. The BID is overseen and guided by a volunteer advisory board representing the different "neighborhoods" of downtown.

    Community Development Financial Institution Revolving Load Fund: This fund is available to support the Vehicles for Families Program through the Office of Workforce Development. The fund intends to assist residents in overcoming transportation blocks to gainful employment.

    Economic Development Administration Revolving Load Fund: This fund can lend up to $200,000 for business startups or expansions and can provide working capital for manufacturing, and retail sales and service activities in the Oklahoma City Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area. Enterprise Community (EC) programs: The Oklahoma City EC was designated by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development in December 1994, for the same general area that is now the EZ. The EC maintains three revolving loan funds serving two primary goals: enhanced access to capital for EC businesses and more and better jobs for residents of the EC. If qualified, businesses can obtain financing for start-up or expansion. The Enterprise Community programs emphasize the creation and retention of jobs for EC residents.

    Enterprise Community Small Business Assistance Program: The fund is intended to assist small businesses with access to capital - startup or expansion.

    Environmental Cleanup Cost Deduction: A business can deduct qualified cleanup costs for hazardous substances in the year the costs are incurred.

    Federal Historic and State Historic Tax Credits: Federal Tax Law currently provides attractive incentives for the rehabilitation of historic and older buildings. These special benefits encourage revitalization of historic districts as well as individual buildings. These benefits were used by the City during the restoration of the Skirvin Hotel in downtown OklahomaCity.

    Investment Tax Credits for Rehabilitation: These special benefits encourage revitalization of historic districts as well as individual buildings. The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) participates in the review of proposed rehabilitation projects and is the initial contact for applicants. The U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, is the agency responsible for certifying historic structures and rehabilitation work.

    New Markets Tax Credits: Equity investors in Community Development Entities (CDEs) can receive tax credits of 5 to 6 percent per year for each year in the investment is held for up to seven years following the initial investment. The CDE must in turn invest in projects in qualifying census tracts - 20 percent poverty rate or higher.

    Tax Increment Financing (TIF): Tax increment financing allow capture of the added value of a real estate project, and the use of these funds to help pay for the improvements that enable the project to come to fruition.

    Small Business Assistance Loan Program: The goal of this Program is to promote the start-up and expansion of small businesses, thus increasing employment opportunities within the Enterprise Community, Empowerment Zone, Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area and a Conditional Expansion Area. This Program can loan up to $100,000 at competitive rates and flexible terms and partners with private lenders. The funds can be used for acquisition, construction and renovation, purchase of machinery and equipment, inventory, and working capital.

6. Could you describe the collaboration that occurred among multiple parties to enable the project?

MAPS was an ambitious downtown renewal package undertaken by the citizens of Oklahoma City, city leaders, and other stakeholders. It is believed Oklahoma City is the first city in the country to undertake a public facility enhancement project of this size. The one-cent temporary sales tax approved by city voters in 1993 and its six month extension provided the much needed funds required to bolster public infrastructure and attract private development. The Oklahoma City Transit Services Department received funding from MAPS and the Federal Transit Administration for the trolley system. The Oklahoma River's original overall cost of $51.8 million included $39 million of MAPS sales tax money and federal funds through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The City of Oklahoma City also received a Transportation, Community, and System Preservation Pilot Grant in 1999 for implementation of passenger boats connecting nearby areas along the North Canadian River.

Two sites in the area were enrolled in the Oklahoma Voluntary Brownfields Redevelopment Program by the Oklahoma Urban Renewal Authority [27 A O.S.SSS2-15-101 et seq.]. Federal 128(a) funds were used by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality to assist OCURA with their brownfield applications for the sites. Under Oklahoma law, all parties that participated in the cleanup, their lenders, lessees, successors and assigns receive the State Brownfield liability release. The new owner, lenders, lessees, successors and assigns also receive the enforcement bar from CERCLA liability provided in the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Redevelopment Act. Several of the individual parcels that made up the different projects were remediated under the authority of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The Oklahoma Urban Renewal Authority (OCURA) began the process of acquiring properties to assemble for the proposed redevelopment several years ago. Once the parcels were assembled into a large tract of developable land and consolidated under one owner, OCURA worked with the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to evaluate the land for areas that needed further investigation and analysis. The redevelopment project was divided into phases for development and those phases represented developable parcels. Leaking Underground Storage Tank (UST) cleanups and oil well plugging were pursued under the jurisdiction of the OCC [Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 17 SSS 301 et seq.].

Two large parcels within the overall Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) area were enrolled in the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality's Brownfields Program. One property, Phase 1, has completed the Brownfields process. The second, Phase 1A, has completed the process and the Brownfield Certificate is being prepared [Oklahoma Brownfields Voluntary Redevelopment Act 27A O.S. SSS2-15-101 -110].

7. What were the number of employees formerly employed at the site prior to abandonment, and primary job classifications at the former enterprise (e.g., mechanics, steelworkers, clerical, etc.)?


In the final decade of the 20th Century, Oklahoma shared in the nation's longest period of economic boom. By 1935, the Oklahoma City oil field had produced 409 million barrels of crude oil, and ninety-five oil industry companies employed twelve thousand. Construction, Manufacturing, Transport and utilities, trade, services, city services were some of the other jobs offering employment in the area. By the 1950s, the city began to see construction of new highways. An annexation spree also began to encourage development further and further away from the city's heart and suburban development began competing with downtown. Jobs were scarce in downtown, families with children began moving to the suburbs, and neighborhoods in downtown started to show signs of blight. The collapse of the oil industry only served as the final nail in the coffin. The words of Mr. I.G. Purser, Oklahoma City Councilman in 1988, seemed to sum it all up "Downtown is dead and we helped kill it".

8. What are the number of employees currently employed at the site?


*Numbers do not necessarily capture the entire number of employees involved with activities associated with the location [Source: Greater Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, 2009 InfoUSA Business Listing]. These job classifications include art, entertainment, recreation, administrative, information, transportation, and service industries. [**Source: Greater Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce, 2008]

Company:
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality,
707 North Robinson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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