MAPS 3 Money Would Complete Oklahoma City's Trail System

Wednesday, September 23rd 2009, 7:57 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- City leaders said if MAPS 3 passes in December, a portion of the penny sales tax would be used to complete the 151 miles left in Oklahoma City's Master Trail Plan that has been in the works for over a decade.

The plan was drawn up back in 1997, and city leaders have steadily used bond money and matching federal funds to work on the 208 mile system.

See a sketch of the entire Master Trail Plan for Oklahoma City

If MAPS 3 passes, the plan would not only be sped up but completed. Completion would mean connectivity between most city trails and a majority of the city. For example, trails around Lake Hefner would connect to Lake Olverholser, which would also connect to the Oklahoma River trails downtown.

In an exclusive News9/Oklahoma Gazette poll, potential voters indicated trails and sidewalks had the most support out of the proposed MAPS 3 projects.

"This is a fantastic and unique opportunity to finish an important component of our city. This will speed up what can be a time consuming process. Since this plan launched in 1997, we've only completed about 57 miles of the trails. MAPS 3 is an opportunity we shouldn't pass up. Completion will mean everyone will have access to a trail and access to other areas," said Oklahoma City's planning director Russell Claus.

Plans include connecting trails to the MAPS 3 proposed Central Park as well.

It all ties into what Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett considered an important aspect of the MAPS 3 goal.

"The health and wellness of Oklahoma City residents is something MAPS 3 includes," Cornett said.

The idea seems to be popular with those who already use existing trails, and support the expansion of MAPS 3.

"It's done nothing but great things for the city. If it's getting us to the next level, I think if they would continue on, it would benefit the city, the people even that much better," said Cade Gunter, who runs on Lake Hefner's trails and is a potential MAPS 3 voter.