OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt has major plans for the city in the future.
During his State of the City address, Holt says that city leaders in 2005 had initially looked toward Nashville as a road map for what Oklahoma City wanted to become.
Less than 20 years later, Oklahoma City surpassed Nashville to be named a Top 20 city.
“This growth means we’re no longer a mid-sized upstart. We’re a big city, there’s no way around it. One of the 20 biggest cities in the most influential country in the world. That presents new challenges, and new opportunities. We are now America’s 20th largest city and we will have to act like it,” he said.
Holt said that the Oklahoma City Thunder is a key component to the city’s growth, and an update to the Paycom Center is needed.
“Here’s the bottom line- the NBA has changed our city forever. The vast majority of our residents know that and want that relationship to continue. That facts speak plainly that we can never rest on our laurels and must always be proactive. I am extremely optimistic that we can and will secure a long-term relationship with the NBA because we have great partners in the Oklahoma City Thunder. And the time to open that dialogue is now,” said Holt.
In 2008, the Oklahoma City Thunder signed a 15-year agreement to play in Oklahoma City. Last month, the Thunder extended the original agreement three more years until the 2025-2026 season.
During the next three years, Holt says the city wants to work with the Thunder to develop a plan to keep the team in OKC for the long term.
He says other cities are already working to build new arenas that are capable of attracting an NBA team.
Although voters approved a plan to provide some updates to the Paycom Center, Holt says that more needs to be done.
He has asked the MAPS Advisory Board to hold off on completing some of the renovations to determine if another plan is needed. That way, those funds could be saved. Also, the Oklahoma City Thunder has paused its plans for building a Thunder Alley until a future plan is developed.
“I became mayor of a city in 2018 that I thought had already arrived. I had lived through the era that began in 1993 and in comparison, I could hardly recognize the city we had in 2018. And yet today, just four years later, I am mayor of a very different city once again. I became mayor of America’s 27th largest city and now I am mayor of its 20th largest city. People who don’t come here for a couple of years say the same thing, ‘Wow, this city has changed.’ Improvement is relentless,” said Mayor Holt.
“We appreciate Mayor Holt’s vision and leadership and we welcome the dialogue.”Dan Mahoney, VP Broadcasting and Corporate Communications at OKC Thunder