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COMMENTARY

(Update: The six finalists for the MAPS 3 park name have been announced. Citizens can vote here.)

In a refreshing turn of crowd-sourced civic improvement, the City of OKC is currently seeking submissions for the name of the MAPS 3 park, set to replace 70 acres of downtown blight with “the most ambitious park project in state history,” according to a release issued Tuesday.

The idea of letting the people choose the park’s name conjures up the unintended consequences created when government and corporations seek to crowd-source creativity for their initiatives and products.

Last year, a British government agency allowed users online to pick the name of a polar research ship. Although R.S.S. David Attenborough became the selected entry, Boaty McBoatface remains the most loved overall, by far.

‘A name that captures all that’

Mayor Mick Cornett announced the City’s request for name submissions in a video released Tuesday (see above). In it, he cites New York’s Central Park and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park as iconic public spaces with names that reflect each city’s history. Cornett describes OKC’s MAPS 3 park thusly:

The new park will be a place people will meet to enjoy the trails and water features, gather for concerts and events, spend time with their children, family and friends in a natural setting in the heart of a thriving city. We’re counting on you to come up with a name that captures all that.

Sounds like a tall order. How about Revenue Failure Park? This Park Kills Fascists? Toby Keith’s I Love This Park and Stuff?

Oh wait: The one rule in the naming contest is that the park can’t be named after a person. So no Woody Guthrie, Russell Westbrook or country singers allowed.

Submit a name for the MAPS 3 park

To submit a name, visit okc.gov/NameYourPark. The City will collect name ideas from the website until April 7, and then a committee will choose the best five or six names for a public vote online.

The winning name will be announced at the official groundbreaking for the upper section of the park in “late spring.” That part of the park — north of Interstate 40 — is scheduled for completion in 2018. The lower park is scheduled to be finished in 2021, according to the release.

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Josh McBee earned a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. He has reported and edited for newspapers and other media in Oklahoma, Colorado and California.