Poll: New Convention Center Least Popular Among Voters
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The top project included in the MAPS 3 proposal not only has the biggest price tag, but it is also the least popular among voters, according to a NEWS 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said a new $280 million convention center is the one thing that would help secure Oklahoma City's future, and he hopes taxpayers will keep an open mind on it.
"People don't necessarily see the wisdom initially of building a new convention center because it generally benefits people from other places," Cornett said.
And that's exactly how potential voters seem to feel right now. A NEWS 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll shows 57 percent polled oppose investing in a new downtown convention center.
"The things that more people in the city could take advantage of were obviously much more popular with our polling. These things few people could be involved in, projects like the convention center, had least support," said Bill Shapard, NEWS 9 pollster.
Many have said, they think the Cox Convention Center is good enough, but Cornett's asking skeptics to look down the road.
"By the time a convention center could open by virtue of MAPS 3 it will be 10 or 11 years from now and the Cox Convention Center is going to be nearly 50-years-old," Cornett said.
He said he wants voters to remember that the economic success of Bricktown and Oklahoma City in general has a lot to do with customers who have the badge of a convention on their shirt.
"To grow your economy, it takes dollars from outside your economy deposited in your community. That's what a convention center does," Cornett said. "We've created a city that's worth visiting, but we have to have the facility if we want to be competitive."
While the convention center is a cornerstone of MAPS 3, Cornett said he strongly believes in the importance of the health aspects of MAPS 3 like the walking and biking trails.
Voters agreed with Cornett on that idea. The project that received the most support in the NEWS 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll was outdoor beautification such as parks, biking and walking trails, and streets.
However, it may still be too early to tell where most people stand on MAPS 3. The NEWS 9/Oklahoma Gazette poll showed 82 percent of likely voters said they don't know enough about the proposal yet to determine how they will vote in the December 8 election.
City leaders are working to persuade voters with a new campaign and web site that launched Tuesday called YesforMAPS.com. The Web site is intended to help voters learn more about the proposal and to allow the public to see artists' drawings of the projects included in the MAPS 3 proposal.