OKLAHOMA CITY – While many residents across Oklahoma City are starting to see the outcome of the MAPS 3 initiatives, some organizations are already thinking ahead.
On Thursday, a MAPS 4 proposal was sent to Mayor David Holt, asking that a multi-purpose outdoor entertainment venue be included in the next plan.
The proposal would use the venue to connect south Oklahoma City to downtown through a cultural, entertainment and sports district.
Organizers say the venue would allow Oklahoma City to compete for outdoor events like professional soccer matches, rugby and lacrosse games, high school multi-sport rivalries, national performances, concerts, events and exhibitions.
“We fully support Mayor Holt’s vision to usher in a more diverse and inclusive Oklahoma City,” said Bob Funk, Jr., owner & CEO of Prodigal, LLC which operates the Oklahoma City Energy FC and is major driver of the proposal. “Connecting south Oklahoma City to downtown through a cultural and sports district would be a powerful component of building unity and showcasing our diversity.”
The proposed outdoor venue would seat between 8,500 and 10,000 people for sporting events, and 16,500 to 18,000 for outdoor concerts. Organizers say it would also be designed to allow for expansion.
“Designing connections and walkability around destination areas will also serve to strengthen continuity between Oklahoma City neighborhoods, Scissortail Park, The Convention Center, Wheeler Park, Lower Bricktown and the Boathouse District,” said Chuck Wiggin, an Oklahoma City-based developer.
“We have a keen interest and support for the proposal as a way to connect south Oklahoma City to downtown,” said Dr. Raul Font, president of the Latino Community Development Agency. “We envision this district as one that our community can utilize to showcase Oklahoma City’s vibrant and growing Latino culture.”
The group is also proposing adding up to 10 soccer fields to Wheeler Park to be used for school tournaments.
“We have seen firsthand how soccer can unite so many people,” said Peter Evans, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Police Athletic League and incoming chairman of the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. “Soccer is a sport a lot of kids play and has significant heritage in so many neighborhoods. As a favorite sport for many of our student-athletes and their families, sharing the game together becomes a relationship building tool for the police officers who serve as coaches and mentors through our program.”