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Oklahoma City Council Votes To Annex Midtown Into Downtown Business District

Midtown Plaza Court
Kool Cats Photography
Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma City's Midtown area will become part of downtown's business improvement district, or BID, under a proposal unanimously approved by the city council Tuesday morning.

The civic and development group Downtown Oklahoma City, Incorporated will oversee the marketing, street furnishing, and maintenance of the neighborhood.

Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer told the chamber it's time to expand the area that's seen significant help from the Midtown Renaissance group and St. Anthony's Hospital.

“We have seen property values increase in every one of these districts dramatically,” Salyer said. “The business improvement district has largely been responsible for that.”


Watch video of Tuesday's City Council of Oklahoma City meeting. The Midtown discussion starts just before the 43 minute mark.

Salyer said commercial businesses in Midtown would benefit from the additional marketing, the way her own business in Automobile Alley did.

“As districts mature, it seems like the right time to bring in the property owners and to share the opportunity to invest in their neighborhoods amongst all the property owners,” Salyer said. “And I certainly believe it’s time that Midtown participate as part of the fabric of overall downtown and be part of the BID.”

But attorney Anita Sanders, whose law office is at the corner of NW 10th Street and Francis Ave., told council members the plan is, quote, "just another tax" on business owners in the area who don't think they'd benefit from the Downtown BID.

Downtown Oklahoma City president and CEO Jane Jenkins told council members nearly 64 percent of property owners in Midtown signed petitions agreeing to be included in the downtown BID, according to The Oklahoman’s William Crum.

Adding a new area requires the assent of at least 60 percent of property owners. Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. is a nonprofit organization created in 2000 to manage and market the business improvement district, or BID. Businesses in Bricktown, Automobile Alley, Park Plaza, Deep Deuce, the Arts District, the central business district and Film Row already are part of the downtown business improvement district. Folding in Midtown would add 291 properties to the BID, bringing the total to 1,374. Jenkins said a public hearing would be set in September on reauthorizing the BID, with Midtown included, for the coming year.

A.J. Kirkpatrick, Downtown Oklahoma City’s director of operations and planning,toldThe Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer the expansion was first contemplated in 2008. But he says at the time, Midtown said it wasn't ready to join. Discussions started again during the past year.

“They were getting more retailers, they were getting organized and they were starting to make demands of our time,” Kirkpatrick said. “And we have to be careful on how we spend the resources paid for by our ratepayers.” Kirkpatrick said the petition was submitted after two “well-attended” meetings held in April. The petition had to be submitted 60 days before the district’s annual renewal process, which occurs each September. The Midtown addition is significant, representing a sub-district high of 290 properties compared to what is now the largest area, Bricktown, with 130 properties.

Editor's Note: Salyer's company Accel Financial Staffing mentioned in this story is an underwriter of KGOU.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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