Originally published in The Journal Record
On Tuesday, Dec. 10, Oklahoma City voters will be asked to reinvest in our city through MAPS 4. By now you’ve probably heard opinions about the estimated $978 million package to fund 16 interconnected projects across the city. The projects address some tough human needs in our community with youth centers, senior wellness centers, domestic violence intervention, homelessness and mental health and addiction services, to name a few.
The comprehensive nature of the projects includes investments in our neighborhoods, jobs, quality of life and entertainment. One example are the projects that support and complement Oklahoma City’s criminal justice reform. The diversion hub gives an alternative to low-level offenders and works in tandem with additional investment in mental health and addiction treatment. The addition of senior wellness centers, improving parks and adding more sidewalks, bike lanes and trails across the city will provide our citizens with health benefits and is another example of how MAPS 4 projects work together to benefit everyone in the city.
MAPS 4 also offers ways to improve our economy and create jobs. The transformation of the Innovation District will create a strong innovation infrastructure and entrepreneurial ecosystem. These are critical to helping Oklahoma City further diversify our economy, attract science, technology and health companies and secure additional tax base. The Innovation District is an ideal application of the MAPS model – transformative public investments that attract private investment, create jobs and improve lives.
Anyone interested in economic development might assume everyone sees the benefits. So what’s the risk here? Apathy. Assumptions that MAPS 4 will pass because of its legacy and popularity. We need to encourage people interested in supporting jobs and economic development to show up to vote on Dec. 10.
It’s been 15 years since MAPS 3 was passed and 26 since the original MAPS. Since then, the demographics of our city have changed; there are many new residents who don’t remember our city without the Oklahoma River, Bricktown Canal and a dozen other enhancements and transformations made through MAPS. It’s important that we share information about the impact MAPS projects have had on our quality of life and economy. Tell others how differently you and the rest of the world see our city since the first MAPS passed in 1993. Tell them that their vote will matter.
Read the article at The Journal Record.