"Oklahoma City's Golden Age Continues"

On December 8, 2009, Oklahoma City citizens voted to pass MAPS 3, a continuance of the one-cent tax that originally funded the rejuvenation of the Oklahoma River and which has been instrumental in the positive momentum in our city. The projects approved last night include $60 million in improvements to the Oklahoma River including construction of

– permanent grandstands with a floating stage
– additional race course infrastructure, including a pneumatic starting system
– scoreboard and sound system
– wind screens on the south shore of the river
– permanent lighting for night racing
– expanded parking and staging areas including additional boat ramps and docks
– addition of elevators and stairways to the Lincoln Bridge
– a whitewater kayak and rafting center adjacent to the river

The MAPS initiative also includes a 70-acre downtown park, a public transit component, a new convention center, new trail systems throughout the city, senior aquatic centers, and improvements our state fair park. All together, it is a $777 million package of improvements for Oklahoma City.

As Mayor Mick Cornett proclaimed at the victory party, Oklahoma City's golden age continues! The vision for the future of the Oklahoma River is now brighter and more exciting than ever. As construction continues on the Boathouse District, timelines and plans will be developed for the Oklahoma River MAPS 3 projects. The momentum surrounding the river, projects, events, and programs will be greater than ever in 2010!

"OKLAHOMA RIVER EXPERIENCE" Mobile Boathouse Tour Stop Schedule

The Oklahoma River Experience Mobile Boathouse is now booking tour stops. This mobile interactive exhibit will be on display at Campus Corner during all home OU football games and will be making appearances throughout Central Oklahoma. Please contact Katie Johnson at 552-4040 to inquire about scheduling an tour stop at your school, event, or business. While not on the road, the Oklahoma River Experience is open for public touring at the Chesapeake Boathouse during normal operating hours. Please visit www.chesapeakeboathouse.org for more information about the Chesapeake Boathouse.

"OKLAHOMA RIVER EXPERIENCE" Mobile Boathouse Debuts at OCU Boot of the Oklahoma Regatta

The Oklahoma River Experience Mobile Boathouse is an interactive exhibit dedicated to spreading the excitement surrounding the Oklahoma River and the vision that is creating one of the premier urban river sports venues in the world. The Oklahoma River Experience Mobile Boathouse features the following:

-video screens presenting the history of the river and virtual fly-through tours of projects under development

-displays representing the development of the Boathouse District, including the Devon Boathouse, Chesapeake Finish Line Tour, OU Boathouse, and UCO Boathouse

-a video overview of the proposed public whitewater rafting and kayaking center with a chance to virtually shoot the rapids on the Beijing Olympic Whitewater Slalom course

-displays representing a vision for proposed river projects that are contained in the MAPS proposal

-rowing machines for pubic participation with an exterior screen that featurs virtual representations of participants rowing or racing on the water

-kayak and rowing shell displays

Tour dates are currently being scheduled and will be updated on this blog.


Published: August 2, 2009 in the Oklahoman

On the banks of the Oklahoma River near downtown Oklahoma City this past week, our community’s vision to create a premier, world-class, Olympic-caliber sports and recreation complex took a giant leap forward when U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Stephanie Streeter made it official — the Oklahoma River has earned the coveted designation as an official Olympic and Paralympics Training Site for rowing, canoeing and kayaking.The USOC exercises great care when designating an official training site. Communities receive the training site designation because they have invested in facilities, staffing, equipment and athletic training to help Team USA athletes achieve competitive excellence. There is no greater symbol of excellence than the five Olympic rings, which will now proudly fly on the Oklahoma River.

In three years, the Oklahoma River has developed an incredible reputation as one of the finest rowing, canoeing and kayaking venues in the world. We have become a significant player in national and international sports world thanks to the Oklahoma River successfully hosting numerous high-profile competitions, including the USA Rowing World Challenge in 2007 and the USA Canoe/Kayak Olympic Trials in 2008. Recently, 50 Olympic-caliber American rowers trained on the Oklahoma River.

The world has noticed. Media coverage has generated stories we never could have imagined when voters passed the original MAPS program over 15 years ago. MAPS, which provided funds through a dedi-cated sales tax to build major community improvement projects, has changed the direction of our city. Today, Oklahoma City is consistently ranked among the top 10 places to live, work and play thanks in great measure to the transformation of the Oklahoma River.

Our two companies recognize the economic importance of the Oklahoma River, as well as its many contributions to our quality of life. Our employees and their families enjoy the events and activities associated with the river, as do thousands of Oklahomans. We embrace the vision to build a premier, world-class rowing, kayaking and canoeing venue, not only for athletes, but for our citizens. It is for this vision that we continue to invest private dollars as a complement to the public dollars provided by MAPS. Continued public and private investment in the Oklahoma River will produce greater economic prosperity in the future.

The Chesapeake Boathouse, Chesapeake Finish Line Tower and Devon Boathouse projects underscore our belief in the future of the Oklahoma River. We enthusiastically support the next major development — a world-class whitewater rapids sports and recreational facility. This incredible development will complement what is already under way and solidify the Oklahoma River as one of the world’s top recreational and sports training facilities.

Dynamic cities have robust rivers, and these rivers are centers of commerce, culture and recreation. The Oklahoma River has re-energized our community and inspired us to dream big. The possibilities are exciting and point to a remarkably bright future for the Oklahoma River — a future in which our entire community can enjoy the recreational and economic benefits for generations to come.

Nichols is chairman and CEO of Devon Energy Corp. McClendon is chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.