By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9
Oklahoma City leaders are continuing to develop plans to transform a once-ignored part of downtown.
In Mayor Mick Cornett's state of the city address this year, he unveiled plans to continue downtown's transformation with the "Core to Shore" initiative. The program focuses on the area from the southern edge of downtown to the shore of the Oklahoma River.
The realignment of Interstate 40 and the demolition of the Crosstown bridge, planned for 2012, are the catalysts for Core to Shore.
"It's really, how are we gonna choose to look at the relocation of I-40," Cornett said. "Is it an opportunity, or is it an inconvenience, and I think it's a tremendous opportunity."
Plans include turning the old Crosstown into a new at-grade boulevard that will serve as the city's new main street, said Russell Claus, city planning director.
"It will be of a quality that we don't have anywhere else in the city, and I think that you're gonna find rarely created anywhere else in the country," Claus said. "My sort of guiding mantra for this whole is, I want everybody to say I would never have expected to see that in Oklahoma City before."
The plans also include a new, bigger convention center, new retail and office space, a signature central park, and new residential development.
"I think it's very important to remember that this plan, because it's such a huge area, and such a large transformation for the city," Claus said. "It will take decades to implement, so people shouldn't expect to see this happen overnight."
The planning commission is expected to soon adopt the plan as an amendment to the city's comprehensive plan.