Oklahoma City voters head to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of MAPS 4. The nearly $1 billion package includes an array of items — from parks and recreation investments to homelessness projects — that could have a substantial impact on the city for decades to come.
City voters have approved a series of MAPS packages since the first iteration passed in 1993. Approval of this MAPS package would mean the continuation of the Better Streets, Safer City 1 cent tax that is already in place.
So what are the MAPS 4 details? Here is a look at each item as presented on the City of Oklahoma City’s website. Click the links for more information on specific projects:
- Parks ($140 million)
- Youth Centers ($110 million)
- Senior Wellness Centers ($30 million)
- Mental Health and Addiction ($40 million)
- Family Justice Center operated by Palomar ($38 million)
- Transit ($87 million)
- Sidewalks, bike lanes, trails and streetlights ($87 million)
- Homelessness ($50 million)
- Chesapeake Energy Arena and related facilities ($115 million)
- Animal Shelter ($38 million)
- Fairgrounds Coliseum ($63 million)
- Diversion Hub ($17 million)
- Innovation District ($71 million)
- Freedom Center and Clara Luper Civil Rights Center ($25 million)
- Beautification ($30 million)
- Multipurpose Stadium ($37 million)
To read more about MAPS 4 details discussed at four public hearings prior to the final package’s unveiling, find NonDoc’s coverage here:
- ‘Dream big’ City hears first set of MAPS 4 proposals
- Arena, animals, kids take center stage at second MAPS 4 forum
- Third MAPS 4 forum: $130 million proposed for Thunder arena
- Outdoor stadium highlights final MAPS 4 presentations
Those who participate in Tuesday’s election will cast a single vote in favor of or against the entire MAPS 4 proposal.
The politics of MAPS 4
MAPS 4 appears to have widespread support. A recent poll poll by News 9 found that 73 percent of respondents planned on voting for the package.
Mayor David Holt and several OKC City Council members are in support.
“We have the resources to do all the things that were formally presented this summer, and that’s a great thing because those projects really cover a broad spectrum of needs in our city,” Holt said in August. “I would characterize those as falling into four buckets: neighborhood needs, human needs, quality of life and jobs.”
Ward 5 OKC Councilman David Greenwell, however, said last month he would not be supporting the package unless it contained what he called “measurable outcomes.”
“Myself, there is no particular project in and of itself that makes me say, ‘OK, if this is successful I’m going to vote for all of the package.’ I want data to help me come to that conclusion, and so far I don’t have it,” Greenwell said in November. “So I’m in the camp of not supporting MAPS 4 because of that lack of measurable outcomes.”
At a Nov. 21 forum, Ward 2 OKC Councilman James Cooper said he couldn’t imagine voting against MAPS.
“I believe we have worked with the different people who have proposed the different projects to address accountability and there will be a citizens advisory board that each council person gets to appoint to oversee those projects,” Cooper said. “And there will also be subcommittees as well that will be able to hold these projects accountable. I think because of all those things, we will see measurable outcomes.”
But the group OKC Citizens for Transparency, led by Oklahoma City socialite Carol Hefner, opposes the measure. Hefner has made statements questioned by onlookers, including a claim that homeless people from around the country are poised to descend on OKC if MAPS 4 passes. Hefner has also criticized the package as being loaded with projects that will require additional funding or won’t generate revenue for the city.
Former OKC Councilman Ed Shadid has also criticized the package because it will yield capital projects that won’t have money for operations and maintenance expenses.
To that end, Shadid collected more than 6,500 signatures in an effort to put put a 1/8 cent sales tax on a future ballot to fund parks and recreation operations and programming. Those signatures are still being verified, but the measure could find itself on a ballot at some point next year.
Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon tweeted Sunday evening to express her concern about state statutes not requiring the disclosure of campaign contributors for municipal issue elections. The situation was highlighted in an article by The Oklahoman’s Chris Casteel.
“Does anyone else find it disturbing that municipal ballot elections aren’t required to disclose donors anymore?” Hamon tweeted. “That’s incredibly problematic and these type of elections should require the same transparency as others.”
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Oklahoma County and parts of Cleveland and Canadian counties.
(Editor’s note: The Yes for MAPS 4 campaign purchased advertising on NonDoc this year.)