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Point of View: South OKC community sees promise, opportunity in proposed MAPS 4 projects

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Elaine Lyons
Elaine Lyons

Oklahoma City has truly grown as a community, and we applaud the momentum we have witnessed in many south Oklahoma City neighborhoods.

The Pete White Health and Wellness Center opened last year and has steadily added members and classes. More recently, the opening of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department’s Southern Oaks Learning & Wellness campus has brought partners together to address persistent health challenges in one of our city’s ZIP codes with the lowest health indicators.

South Oklahoma City is well positioned for continued improvements in public education through the ongoing transformation of Oklahoma City Public Schools. We also have incredible assets in CareerTech centers and in Oklahoma City Community College.

Or consider the ongoing investments in Capitol Hill. This vibrant, historic district has experienced intensive investments to bring revitalizations to this area, thanks in part to the city council awarding a Strong Neighborhood Initiative Grant in 2017.

Looking to the future, the South Oklahoma City Chamber has answered Mayor David Holt’s call for input on MAPS 4. Earlier this year we presented a unified proposal to propel our neighborhoods and communities in a way that all of Oklahoma City benefits.

One component of our MAPS 4 submission includes the call for an aerospace training facility and business incubator to create the small-business supply chain needed to serve as an aerospace incubator. We seek also the continued enhancement of social services in the areas of mental health, post-incarceration support for reintroduction to society, and additional youth centers in at-risk neighborhoods.

Equally important to south Oklahoma City’s success is the repurposing of Crossroads Mall/Plaza Mayor into a community center that could potentially include an aquarium, meeting space, retail and sports complex.

Crossroads may be the ideal location for a multi-purpose outdoor venue that would house professional teams, youth and college-level championships and rivalry games as well as concerts and events. This idea would undoubtedly drive development and promote connection. We also would support the consideration of such a venue at the former site of the Producers Cooperative Oil Mill as a way to strengthen the connection between south Oklahoma City and downtown.

Also key to continued development and connection in our neighborhoods is the expansion of the streetcar into Capitol Hill and the construction of a light rail system from the airport to downtown and from Norman to Edmond.

The South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce is grateful to the mayor and city council for consideration of these projects, and we are looking forward to our continued development and success as a community in 2019.

Lyons is president of the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

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