The 63% 'YES' vote, for the extension of a 1c sales tax for Oklahoma City to fund refurbishment of the Ford Center in downtown, is a great victory for the whole State.
The Ford Center is our primary 'Event' location in the city, it hosts sports, music and live entertainment events all year round. It already hosts big names with both Bon Jovi and Kanye West heading here in April, at Christmas the Trans-Siberian Orchestra stopped by with their award winning show. But refurbishment will attract even bigger names more frequently and hopefully some major league sports.
After New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina, their NBA Basketball team was relocated temporarily to OKC with huge success and big crowds. Since then there has been a long running campaign to get an NBA team for OKC, a business conglomerate has even bought the Seattle Sonics with a view to permanently relocating them here. But to make this happen, we have to show a serious intent to support an NBA team, having both the facilities and infrastructure in place to even be considered as a 'Big League' city. Today we took a big step down this road....
Everytime we get to OKC there has been further development of the downtown area known as Bricktown. It is now a great place to visit; with a good selection of quality shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. It also has it's share of year round and seasonal tourist attractions, with the Bricktown Canal area, Baseball Stadium, OKC Bombing Memorial, Botanical Gardens, Toby Keith's Restaurant and the ongoing live events in the area.
There are centrally located quality hotels to stay in, including the newly refurbished historic Skirvin and visitors can take carriage rides, boat rides and even Rickshaw rides!
So the result of this vote was critical for the continued rapid development of downtown OKC as a viable tourist area. I applaud the voters in Oklahoma City for seeing this for what it was - a wonderful opportunity to ensure OKC stays on the national map and continues to grow in stature.