With new attractions filling downtown OKC, you've got to have a way to get to them all. And the opening of the Boulevard did that. The state's largest transportation project since construction of the interstate system in the 60s. It gets you to several places downtown, including the new Scissortail Park, the place that's being considered by the city as the part that will connect "The Heart of OKC."
The opening of Oklahoma City Boulevard is not just about a new road. The $700 million project was the relocation of an interstate, the taking down of a bridge and replacing it with a high-quality boulevard.
"I'm excited for the payoff and we'll get to see the potential of this boulevard and this whole project play out in the years ahead," said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt.
And how it plays with the neighbors. The Myriad Botanical Gardens is thrilled with their new park partner.
"Rising tide rises all ships," said Leslie Spears, with the Myriad Botanical Gardens. "We are so excited to have more green space in downtown. The parks complement each other and we're excited."
Which spurns change. Look for updates to the Crystal Bridge in the future and more education programs. And while some traditions will remain like the Garden's ice rink, Scissortail Park will offer a roller rink planned for the spring. The synergy between the two is already strong.
"The Myriad Gardens staff is going to be working with the grand opening weekend," Spears said. "And when we had damage from the storms, the horticulture team from scissortail was helping us. We're gonna learn a lot. And we expect more traffic."
This project is 25 years in the making, the construction of the I-40 Crosstown and in its place a new city boulevard. It's becoming a catalyst for a dramatic transformation of downtown OKC.
"The ballroom in the convention center is the living room, the meeting rooms," said Michael Carrier, with the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau. "Then, you've got a nice front yard and when you entertain, you see a beautiful lawn. We've got a 42-acre lawn."
Curb appeal to boot. A new video from the OKC Convention and Visitors Bureau highlights how visitors can step off an airplane at Will Rogers and in just 10 minutes, easily jet to downtown to several hotspots. From what you can do and how easy it is to get to it all, it maps out why big conventions should meet here.
"It's a nice package and as we talk with people about our convention complex, Scissortail Park, new convention center and Omni Hotel, Chesapeake Arena, and, oh, by the way, a streetcar system. They love that," said Carrier.
And while Mayor Holt sees this mission accomplished, it's the future that will keep the party buzzing.
"We're not building any of this for the city of 2019, we're building this for the city of 2040," Mayor Holt said. "This is going to be a world class urban park and the center of Oklahoma City and I just can't wait to open it."
There are also upgrade plans for another important part of the heart, the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Some of those plans for the Peake are included in the MAPS 4 proposals.