The Edmond Sun

Opinion

April 1, 2013

OUR VIEW: OKPOP — great idea, bad timing

EDMOND — The Route 66 museum in Clinton has been such a success that Bob Blackburn, executive director of the Oklahoma Historical Society, said the turnaround project proves that popular culture is a best-seller when it comes to museum projects. It also proved that when a community gets behind a project and raises the funds to launch it, they all can reap the rewards of the increased tourism and recognition.

With that success, Blackburn and the Oklahoma Historical Society now have their sights on a much larger version of that Clinton idea in the guise of the OKPOP, an Oklahoma museum of popular culture. The state agency proposes to build a 75,000-square-foot museum in the Brady Arts District of Tulsa that will showcase the numerous Oklahomans who have made an impact on popular culture nationally and internationally.

The agency has some heavy hitters already committed to donating their collections such as Garth Brooks, Bob Wills, Kristin Chenoweth and other stars, but those donations are contingent upon having a facility designed to showcase them.

Blackburn says the time is now to achieve a significant museum presence in the eastern half of Oklahoma and he’s got the partners lined up and ready to help pay for the vision. There’s just one small catch — a $42.5 million state bond issue.

And that’s where we find fault with the proposal.

The historical society proposes the $42.5 million bond issue to pay for construction of the facility and it will repay the bonds at $2.2 million per year. The society also says it will raise $15 million privately, which includes a $3 million promise from the City of Tulsa and a $2.5 million land donation from the Bank of Oklahoma, which will in exchange receive free use of the 650-space parking garage that will be built with the facility.

Under the agency’s plan, it will need to find bridge funding to make the bond repayments for the first five years and in the sixth year the payments will be made out of its annual agency appropriation and from interest earned from a $3 million endowment plus any additional fundraising and revenue from the venue and its parking garage rentals. Blackburn promises that no new funding will be needed from state general revenue.

We love the idea of the cultural museum. We love that the historical society has a fairly decent business plan to support the project. But the problem remains that the state of Oklahoma has some real, pressing needs such as funding a new Medical Examiner’s office and repairing our state Capitol, which is crumbling onto people as they walk in the doors. Then there’s the undecided fate of the American Indian Cultural Center that is still in need of a huge amount of cash to finish it.

In the current climate of economic uncertainty and federal sequestration, we find it difficult to believe that legislators, and much less voters, will find the passion or patience to support a bond issue of this nature. It’s truly unfortunate timing.

We would like to see the City of Tulsa do its own MAPs-like project to improve the Brady Arts District much like Oklahoma City breathed life into Bricktown. It was a multi-year commitment by taxpayers, but it has paid off. We think the same can occur in Tulsa to achieve worthy projects like OKPOP.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • RedBlueAmerica: What should the U.S. do about illegal immigrant children?

    The crisis along the southern U.S. border has politicians and immigration officials scrambling. More than 52,000 children, mostly from Central American nations, have arrived so far this year. The Department of Homeland Security is running out of space to hold them all.
    President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $3.7 billion in borrowed money from taxpayers to cover the growing “care, feeding and transportation costs of unaccompanied children and family groups” when our own veterans are not taken care of. Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized the president’s plan, saying more money should go toward securing the border.

    July 17, 2014

  • VA scandal highlights the need to change Pentagon spending priorities

    The ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs scandal raises an important question: When our veterans are being denied access to basic health care, why is the Pentagon squandering billions of dollars on programs that do not benefit our military forces? Is there a link in organization attitudes?

    July 16, 2014

  • For better politics, it’s time for some raging moderates

    Like more than 20 percent of my fellow Californians, I am now classified as a no-party-preference voter, registered to vote but with no affiliation to any of the state’s political parties.
    I am for lower taxes and for marriage equality. I am tough on crime and I am anti-abortion. I believe that a pathway to citizenship is a necessary part of immigration reform and that student test scores should be a critical component of teacher evaluations.

    July 15, 2014

  • Father on mission to stop gun violence

    Since his son died six weeks ago as collateral damage to a troubled young man’s wish for vengeance, Richard Martinez has been asked whom he holds responsible.
    “I’m responsible,” the California lawyer answers, referring to most Americans’ failure to push harder to change gun laws after earlier mass shootings. “All those kids died and none of us did anything.”

    July 14, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results