Oklahoma City is one of the country’s most exciting and unique cities with a heritage steeped in pioneer spirit, but always with an eye toward the future. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the Boathouse District. A dry riverbed only a few short years ago, the Oklahoma River has been transformed into one of the city’s crown jewels.
It is the people of Oklahoma City who’ve created the momentum and the enthusiasm behind the Oklahoma River. And it is the corporate community working in partnership with City leaders who continue to fuel this world-class development.
The vision for the Oklahoma River began in 1993 with the first Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), a one-cent sales tax spearheaded by then-Mayor Ron Norick and civic leader Ray Ackerman. Designed to improve the quality of life in Oklahoma City, the original MAPS projects included construction of the Bricktown Canal, downtown ballpark, a new library, renovation of the convention center, construction of the arena where the Oklahoma City Thunder now play, renovation of the Civic Center Music Hall, and improvements to the river now known as the Oklahoma River.
More than $50 million was spent creating the seven-mile Oklahoma River. Subsequently, MAPS 3 funded an additional $777 million in civic improvements across the metro including a new downtown convention center and 70-acre public park, a streetcar/transit initiative, improvements to the state fairgrounds, construction of trails and sidewalks, senior health and wellness centers.
MAPS 3 also funded $60 million in improvements on the Oklahoma River that include permanent lighting, race course improvements and a $45.2 million Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking Center.
Oklahoma City’s investment in our future is paying big dividends for the people who live here and for those who visit. We are now known as one of the nation’s most entrepreneurial cities with low unemployment, low cost of living and lifestyle amenities that have all the appeal of a “Big League City.”
We are proud to live, work and play in OKC – we invite you to join us!