Oklahoma's Own In Focus: What's On The Horizon For OKC

Oklahoma City could be seeing several new upgrades in the coming years. News 9's Matt McCabe breaks them down in Oklahoma's Own In Focus.

Wednesday, January 3rd 2024, 10:56 pm

By: News 9, Matt McCabe, Bella Roddy


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New Downtown OKC Arena

A newly released 2,000-plus page document explained the effort involved with evaluating a possible location for Oklahoma City's new downtown arena, which would become home to the OKC Thunder by 2029.

In December, City Manager Craig Freeman publicly named the current site of Prairie Surf Studios, formerly known as the Cox/Myriad Convention Center, as a leading contender for the new location.

It's the only site the city has officially named, and the only location the city already owns. But before the city could redevelop the property, it must undergo an Environmental Site Assessment, which is outlined by the city's Brownfields program.

The Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment was completed on August 31. News 9 obtained a copy of the completed findings, which identified several "recognized environmental conditions." However, without a Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment, it is unknown if any of those environmental conditions pose significant enough hazards to warrant a cleanup. A city spokesperson said it has not yet been determined if a Phase 2 Assessment will be completed.

A database managed by the Environmental Protection Agency previously incorrectly stated that cleanup would be necessary at the site but has since been updated to reflect that cleanup needs are unknown.

To determine all the possible environmental contaminants at any Brownfields location, the assessment looks back by more than 100 years to understand previous uses of the land before Oklahoma had reached statehood.

Maps included in the assessment reveal hotels, an opera house, pubs, a wagon yard, and a candy factory were all home to the same area before it was razed for new development beginning in the late 60s.

A final determination of where Oklahoma City's new arena will be built has not been made.

Related Stories: 

Oklahoma City Conducting Environmental Assessment of Potential Arena Location

City Alludes To Possible Location For New Downtown Arena

'What A Historic Decision It Was,' Paycom Center General Manager Talks Future Of Arena

MAPS 4 Soccer Stadium 

The OKC Energy has a goal to return to play in their own stadium. Team owners have the land picked out in downtown Oklahoma City but need more money to build the new MAPS 4 multipurpose stadium.

Team owners paused play due to not having a regulation-sized field. The new $41 million MAPS4 Multipurpose Stadium would solve that problem, and owners want to put it downtown near Bricktown. “I think that it fits within what a whole lot of people have thought was the right place to put that,” said David Todd, OKC’s MAPS Program Manager.

In a statement, team owners said they “are under contract to purchase an area of undeveloped property south of Bricktown and east of the Oklahoma City Convention Center from the Producers Downtown Development, LLC, 7.2 acres of which will be donated to the City for the stadium.” “I think that the Multipurpose Stadium is certainly an important project just the name of it multipurpose, providing soccer and football games and concerts and those kinds of things, we might even see lacrosse,” Todd said.

Under Maps 4, $41 million is earmarked to build the new stadium. However, team owners said since the 2019 MAPS 4 resolution was adopted, projected construction costs for the planned 8,000-seat stadium have significantly increased. According to the city, the Downtown TIF Review Committee will consider using economic development funds to increase the budget for the stadium from $41 to $71 million. The city says the proposal is contingent on the multipurpose stadium being located downtown. In that case, an additional $30 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other economic development funds could pay for a portion of the stadium’s construction costs. “Right now, we can afford a certain amount of stadium but with additional money we can provide more amenities and more seats, just trying to better the experience,” Todd said.

The proposal will be considered by the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust on January 5 and the City Council on January 16.

Meanwhile, while play is paused, the team has retained its USL Championship franchise agreement with the league and will return to play once the stadium is completed. 

Related Articles:

New MAPS 4 Soccer Stadium Could Land In Bricktown

Riversport Updates: Project Thorpe

A public bid from Oklahoma City suggests there might also be construction coming to Riversport.

The city is seeking a feasibility study on several improvements at the facility.

Those upgrades include grandstands, cabling and fiber, and changes to the competition channel.

Both the city and Riversport say these upgrades are for the World Championships in 2026.

Riversport and city officials are talking with L-A-28 Olympic organizers about plans called "Project Thorpe".

The American Canoe Association, along with Oklahoma City’s Riversport, have announced that they will hold the Olympic team trials for two events.

The final event to select athletes for the canoe slalom and kayak cross for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games will take place at Riversport.

The kayak cross is making its debut in Paris as a new Olympic event. Four kayakers will race down a section of whitewater, paddling around inflatable gates, and completing a full kayak roll, the ACA says. The first boat to finish wins.

The events at Riversport will be the final event for Olympic team selection.

Related Articles:

Project Thorpe: Inside Oklahoma City’s Negotiations With LA 2028 Olympics

2024 Olympic Trials To Be Held In Oklahoma City For Two Events

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