Oklahoma River Improvements
Already designated as an official Olympic and Paralympic training site, Oklahoma City is creating the finest rowing racecourse in the world. We're also investing $25 million in a public whitewater kayaking facility that will accommodate all skill levels and provide a myriad of recreation possibilities for families, recreational enthusiasts, Olympic-caliber athletes and everyone in between.
In May 2016, a $45M whitewater rafting facility, RIVERSPORT Rapids, opened in OKC’s Boathouse District. The project, which is part of the city's MAPS 3 initiative (a one-cent sales tax citizens have placed on themselves since 1993 for city improvement.)The course is one of only six man made white water courses in the country. It is powered by a total of six pumps that weigh more than 12,000 pounds each and circulate 82,000 gallons per minute. Approximately 2,000 people are able to raft in a single day making RIVERSPORTS Rapids one of the largest rafting facilities in the world. The facility provides rafting and kayaking for all levels of users, from novice to Olympic Champion. Riversport Rapids is part of the growing Oklahoma City Boathouse District which serves as the training site for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site for canoe/kayak. It’s also unique in that our Entertainment District, Bricktown, is walking distance to the RIVERSPORT Rapids—making it the only urban whitewater rafting facility in the world.
Velosolutions Pump Track for Bikes/Skates
Velosolutions, the world leader in paved pump track design and construction, has installed a 15,000 square foot asphalt track featuring seamless paved waves. The largest of its kind in the USA, it includes an integrated timing system that will connect OKC’s track with other Velosolutions pump tracks nationwide for virtual competition. A portion of the funding for the track was provided as a grant from The Recreational Trails Program.
New Hotel Development Downtown
21C Museum Hotels
This June, 21c Museum Hotels’ redevelopment of downtown Oklahoma City’s historic Fred Jones Building opened. The 97-year-old, four story brick building was built by Henry Ford as a Model T assembly plant. The update of this iconic industrial building includes 135 hotel rooms, a contemporary art museum and restaurant and bar inspired by regional culinary traditions – Mary Eddy’s Kitchen.
Three new hotels are being built at the east end of Bricktown—OKC’s Entertainment District. Hyatt Place (132 rooms) and one of the country’s first AC hotels (130 rooms) along with 137 room Staybridge Suites.
“Sacred Words: The Saint John’s Bible and the Art of Illumination”
The first illuminated, handwritten Bible of monumental size to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in the modern era will be on view at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art this fall. "Sacred Words: The Saint John's Bible and the Art of Illumination" will open Oct. 15 at OKCMOA and include seventy selected folios from "The Saint John's Bible" as well as otherhistorical illuminated manuscripts, such as a Book of Hours, Quran pages and Torah scrolls. "Sacred Words" presents the concept, historical context, technical execution and significance of "The Saint John's Bible" and illumination as an art form. This exhibition, open through Jan. 8, 2017, will examine the revival of a millennia-old tradition of meticulous handcraftsmanship that incorporates advances in modern technology.
Modern Downtown Streetcar System
Approximately five to six miles of downtown streetcar will link major attractions in the downtown area. It will be the most extensive of its type in the United States, and the system will help to more sustainably connect workers to their jobs, residents to events and visitors to our attractions. The first rail car should be in place by Winter 2016.
70-acre Downtown Park
This park will provide citizens and visitors with a variety of recreation activities, including concerts, walking/biking/running trails, picnic sites, youth sports fields, play areas, public art, interactive water features, and outdoor education opportunities, in addition to promoting a more healthy lifestyle. The park will connect downtown Oklahoma City to the shores of the Oklahoma River and is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
Bennett Event Center
Construction on the 290,000 square-foot Expo Center, funded by MAPS 3, began in December 2014 and is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete. The new building will offer, among other amenities, 200,000 square-foot of contiguous floor space.
The Expo Center will offer current State Fair Park clients the ability to expand and enhance their events, while bringing new national and international shows to Oklahoma. Once completed, the building will be the largest event space in Oklahoma City.
Construction has been completed on the new parking lots and other site improvements that will compliment the new building.
New Convention Center
Planners will be most excited about the new $287 million convention center coming to OKC in 2020. With 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 35,000-square-foot ballroom and 50,000 square feet of additional space paired with a prime location near the Myriad Botanical Gardens, the downtown park and the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Construction is expected to start in 2018, the new convention center is part of MAPS 3 approved by voters in 2009. For more information on the new Downtown Convention Center, click here.