July 19, 2016

by Cathy O'Connor via The Journal Record: July 19, 2016

This week, the Oklahoma City Council approved the policy guide for the new tax increment financing districts in the Core to Shore reinvestment area.

This guide outlines the goals and objectives of the TIF districts, and details how assistance in development financing will be provided by allocation of tax increment revenue to assist private, tax-generating real estate development projects.

It is the intent of the Core to Shore reinvestment area to create a series of active, high-density and high-quality mixed-use urban districts as envisioned by the Core to Shore redevelopment framework adopted by the Oklahoma City Council in 2008. Increment created through six TIF districts will be targeted toward both public and private projects that support several objectives, including:

• Extension of the central business district to the south to envelop the Myriad Gardens with high-density, mixed-use development.

• Connecting the central business district and Myriad Gardens south to the new MAPS 3 park and the Oklahoma River through an attractive and engaging urban environment of buildings and streets.

• Creation of opportunities for significant amounts of housing, office, hotel and retail space.

• Leveraging the catalytic investment opportunities generated by the new convention center and hotel.

• Developing impactful and well-designed private development along major public investments, including the MAPS 3 Park, the new Oklahoma City Boulevard, and the Oklahoma River.

• A range of new housing opportunities, from high-rise flats to single-family neighborhoods.

• Enhancement of Wheeler Park as a major open space and recreational asset.

• Preservation of historic resources and adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

• Stimulating private and public development by upgrading and enhancing utility infrastructure.

 Read the full article here in the July 19th edition of The Journal Record.

July 12, 2016

by Cathy O'Connor via The Journal Record: July 12, 2016

Cities with high-quality public schools are more economically competitive.

Any attempt to attract a company to Oklahoma City includes a discussion about the public school system, and that discussion has an effect on the company’s decision. Quality public schools have an economic impact at every level, from the influence on individuals to the effect on the community as a whole.

July 5, 2016

by Cathy O'Connor via The Journal Record: July 6, 2016

In December 2007, a portion of the general obligation bond approved by Oklahoma City voters was dedicated to establishing the Strategic Investment Program, a job-creation incentive program used to help recruit jobs and employers.

Job creation incentives are used in every state and many municipalities in order to compete with other cites, states and foreign countries. Incentives like these are used as economic development tools to help level the playing field. If incentives were not available, we would rarely win new site location decisions.

June 28, 2016

by Cathy O'Connor via The Journal Record: June 28, 2016

Engaged citizens providing public input are a critically important element of development in Oklahoma City. There are multiple ways in which citizens can get involved and provide feedback.

The city of Oklahoma City relies on more than 800 individuals who sit on approximately 150 boards, commissions and committees regarding issues such as historic preservation, downtown and urban design, MAPS 3 projects and more. These bodies provide valuable and necessary input to projects and decisions that can have a lasting impact on the community. The city seeks to continuously fill vacancies that may occur on these boards, offering citizens the opportunity to stay engaged with Oklahoma City’s development and policies. The city’s website provides instruction on how to apply for these vacancies.

June 21, 2016

by Cathy O'Connor via The Journal Record: June 21, 2016

For many years there has been discussion, planning and progress toward the creation of a quiet zone along the Burlington-Northern Santa Fe rail line between NE Seventh Street and NE 16th Street in downtown Oklahoma City. In recent years the area of interest has expanded to include intersections as far north as Wilshire Boulevard and south to SE 23rd Street. The increase in commercial and residential development downtown prompted the effort, as residents and businesses struggled with the loud sound of the train horns blowing frequently while passing through the area.

Without a quiet zone in place, the Federal Railroad Administration requires train engineers to sound the warning whistles at least 15 seconds in advance of all crossings. The FRA defines a quiet zone as “a stretch of track where the FRA has agreed that trains are not required to routinely sound the horn at each public crossing except in emergencies, such as someone on the track or workers within 25 feet of the track or at the discretion of the crew, as appropriate.”