OKC civic life for Monday, Feb. 10, 2020
Little Rock eyes MAPS
Little Rock, Arkansas, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. has proposed a one-cent sales tax to finance quality of life projects, infrastructure, economic development and early childhood education. If that sounds like Oklahoma City's Metropolitan Area Projects, it may not be a coincidence. Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt used Twitter last week to highlight Scott's proposal, noting the Little Rock mayor "visited OKC in August." Scott proposes MAPS-like investments in bicycle trails, fitness and senior centers, a midtown park and the zoo, KATV reported.
Worth noting: Holt retweeted with the hashtag #MAPSModel.
Sales, use taxes gain
Oklahoma City sales tax revenue for February is up 4.1% over the same month last year, indicating stores were busy with shoppers the last two weeks before Christmas and in the post-holiday period. Results reversed a 1.9% decline for January. Use tax is up 24.7%, which could mean online retailers were ringing up lots of sales from Oklahoma City customers.
Zoo visitors 'connect' offline
The Oklahoma City Zoo said about 3,200 visitors checked mobile phones at the gate in its "Connect with Wildlife Challenge," taking a "tech break” in exchange for free admission on Sunday, Feb. 2. Springlike weather helped the zoo set a February weekend attendance record of 19,420 guests Feb. 1 and 2.
Of note: The new regular admission price of $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors 65 and older took effect Feb.1. That's a $1 increase.
They said it
"The park is dormant now but it's still a great place to walk around and I encourage everybody to go out there. But I can't wait 'til the spring for the park to bloom, I really can't."
— MAPS 3 Program Manager David Todd, in comments to the MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board regarding downtown's Scissortail Park, which opened in September. The park's sledding hill got its first workout during last week's snowstorm.
The Oklahoma City Council meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday at Cox Convention Center, Rooms 1 and 2, One Myriad Gardens, for its annual budget workshop. Projections are for slowing growth this winter and spring in sales tax, the city's single-largest revenue source.
Mayor David Holt and the eight city council members attended last week's meeting.
Closer look at parking
Oklahoma City's central business district parking system — a mix of public and private parking — is fragmented, overbuilt and under-utilized, a study concludes. Key findings:
• Of 1,200 acres in the downtown study area, 256 are devoted to parking.
• At peak hours, more than 60% of downtown parking spaces are empty.
• Increase on-street parking rates 50 cents per hour to balance with off-street demand.
• Extend parking enforcement hours to evenings and weekends in Bricktown.
Of note: In an article titled "Parking Reform Will Save the City," citylab.com reported last week that cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability.
Staff writer William Crum Twitter: @williamcrum firstname.lastname@example.org