April 26, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

The word “innovation” is used frequently to describe a new product, technology or service. Imagine what innovation might look like when you apply it to an entire 1.3-square-mile district.

The Brookings Institution, along with the Project for Public Spaces, recently released the findings of their 18-month study on Oklahoma City’s proposed Innovation District. The designated area connects the Oklahoma Health Center on the east side of Interstate 235 to Automobile Alley on the west. But the Innovation District is so much more than a physical location. It is a new way of thinking about public spaces and opportunities for collaboration. It is focused on creating a magnetic hub, with walkable spaces and inviting spaces to gather – the kind of place where innovative businesses and skilled workers are attracted.

 

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April 19, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

Wednesday marks the anniversary of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a heinous event that took the lives of 168 people and affected thousands more, physically and mentally.

The anniversary and the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum give us space and time to pause to honor and remember the victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were affected by the bombing. It is also a time to express pride in how our community responded to hate and violence by working together, helping others through their physical and emotional healing and committing to the rebuilding of our city.

The bombing damaged or destroyed 324 buildings within a 16-block radius, causing $652 million in damage. Buildings were reduced to rubble and businesses refocused on rescue and recovery. But we were determined not to let the act of hate cripple our city. We grew stronger.

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April 12, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

In the span of six days, April 25-30, more than 1 million people will attend the Festival of the Arts and the Memorial Marathon in downtown Oklahoma City.

If you lived in Oklahoma City in 1995, you understand the significance of the Memorial Marathon. If you’re a transplant, you probably have learned the history of how our city was forever changed on April 19 of that year, and you’ve seen how the marathon honors the victims, survivors, rescuers and all who were affected. If you are one of the 24,000 participants planning to cross the finish line, you have been preparing for this race for months.

Just a few blocks away, in Bicentennial Park, you’ll find an event with a very different feeling. The Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts is a feast for the eyes and ears, with nearly 150 visual artists from across the county and almost 300 performing artists and entertainers. The event is also a gastronomical feast with more than 31 food vendors cooking up tastes from around the world. Nationally, the festival is considered one of the largest and most successful festivals in the country.

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April 5, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

With the warmer weather comes festival season and more tourists. Oklahoma City has a lot to show off to visitors, from Bricktown and downtown’s events and activities to the Oklahoma River and special events at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, sporting events at ASA Hall of Fame and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Tourism is an important economic development tool for our city and our state. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department commissioned an economic impact study in 2016, which showed tourism as Oklahoma’s third-largest industry, generating $634 million in state and local tax revenue every year. Oklahoma County attracted $2.2 billion of the state’s total travel spending of $8.6 billion.

Visitors spent $1.6 billion in Oklahoma County in 2015, with non-transportation spending (meaning all money except for the amount spent on airfare, gas and other transportation costs) accounting for nearly $1.4 billion.

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March 29, 2017

by Cathy O'Connor, via The Journal Record:

Once again, the city of Oklahoma City has earned the highest bond ratings possible from two of the nation’s most respected financial rating services. The city’s general obligation bonds received an AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s and an Aaa rating from Moody’s Investor Service, indicating extremely strong creditworthiness.

This is important to residents because the high ratings translate into lower interest rates the city pays to sell bonds to fund major capital projects like streets, bridges, buses, sidewalks, trails and park improvements. The savings on interest allow the city to potentially spend more on bond projects like the proposed general obligation bonds voters will decide in September.

Ratings agencies, such as Standard & Poor’s, consider the diversity of the tax base, tax revenues and median income, the community’s level of dependence on certain employers or industries and economic growth.

Read full article in The Journal Record