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  • Cathy O'Connor

housing near downtown park key to diversity

The Core to Shore development and MAPS 3 projects have great synergy – when we combine a park and convention center with carefully planned private development, Oklahoma City will have unique spaces that will set us apart from other cities. It’s an incredible opportunity and important that we get it right.

Oklahoma City is now positioned to collaborate with private development around the park to create a balanced mix of retail, green space, housing, commercial development and recreation. We have established six new tax increment financing districts in the Core to Shore area with distinct guidelines to create a particular emphasis in each area.

The area that intrigues me most is the west side of the 70-acre park, an area we expect to see the most residential development.

Without planning and thoughtful zoning and requirements, we could end up with only high-end housing around the signature park due to density and property values. That doesn’t support the variety we need for a vibrant downtown. We want rich diversity of people – families and singles, a spectrum of ages, diversity of income and interests. We also want developers with different visions and different styles of architecture.

The Alliance for Economic Development has worked with the city of Oklahoma City to set stricter development and density guidelines for developers requesting public incentives to perform at a higher level in the Core to Shore area. One option could be additional incentives to develop housing that is affordable for working families. We are looking at other tools that could lead to a range of housing options: reserved land, a housing trust fund to use public resources for diverse housing or inclusionary zoning to ensure that a percentage of residential units are set aside for households in certain income brackets.

Read more at The Journal Record.

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