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jbrown84

Great Article on OKC

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From Hillsboro Free Press, KS

Oklahoma City more impressive than NBA game there

By: Scott Nuss January 04, 2006

I had a rather non-traditional New Year's Eve this time around. Midnight found me returning from a trip to Oklahoma City, where I took in my first National Basketball Association game.

By the time I left Oklahoma City that night, I had drawn a few conclusions about the trip as a whole.

The game itself didn't impress me that much. The Hornets, who are playing in Oklahoma City this season after being forced out of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, played the Dallas Mavericks, the third best team in the NBA.

We watched the game from the cheap seats at Oklahoma City's Ford Center: Section 307, Row K.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the Ford Center, it's five rows from the top, very near where the rafters meet the side of the building. We were so high that we couldn't hear the ball bounce. If we were lucky, we could hear a referee's whistle. Our seats were actually above the scoreboard, if that helps.

I would be lying if I said I enjoyed watching the game. Honestly, every high-school basketball game I've ever been to has been more exciting than the NBA game I watched.

I was especially annoyed by the pre-recorded "Defense" cheers and music that was played throughout the evening, even when the game was being played. I wasn't expecting a pep band, but I wish the sell-out crowd of more than 19,000 would have been allowed to do a little cheering on its own.

Another major annoyance was all the promotions that took place. Every time a timeout was called, it was time for "one lucky fan" to shoot a half-court shot for a new car, or time for kids to try to make a layup for a free meal at Sonic. They even had a Dizzy Bat Race for a Hornet's T-shirt.

As far as the "professional" basketball itself, it was disappointing. Both teams at least attempted to play defense in the first half, which resulted in a 44-44 tie.

The defense disappeared in the third quarter, but came back in time for Dallas to hold off the Hornets for a 95-90 win.

If those teams would have used as much effort as any given professional football team would have given, the score would have been more like 145-140.

As a whole, I was disappointed with the evening's "entertainment" in the Ford Center. However, I was intrigued by how progressive Oklahoma City seems to be.

The Ford Center is a large, impressive facility. It almost has a welcoming feel to it. It's situated between downtown Oklahoma City and Interstate 40, so parking isn't convenient, but Oklahoma City's Bricktown district-similar to Wichita's Old Town area-is less than two blocks away.

I was amazed by how clean the entire area was.

As I was walking from our parking spot five blocks away, I started to think about what Wichita may be like if they ever get their downtown arena completed.

If Wichita could pull off a large arena, I have no doubt in my mind that the place would boom, especially if they could attract a big event like an opening round of the NCAA tournament, or maybe even an NAIA national championship event.

The thing I question about Wichita is whether they would be able to keep the area clean as well as Oklahoma City has.

I believe Oklahoma City should be looked upon as a model for other cities its size. Its location may not be attractive, but that hasn't stopped them from being progressive. The city has managed to snag the NCAA Softball World Series, the middle rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, and numerous big-name concerts on a regular basis.

It's a city that is definitely worth visiting for a quick vacation.

Sure, it's not coming from someone out of NY or Chicago, but still good to read such positive things from visitors.

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Yes, OKC has a lot more to offer than most people think. I sure wish that Tulsa jumps on the bandwagon as well.

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Tulsa's got some good things going on too, although not as much in the urban areas.

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Oklahoma City already has been a model for other cities around the country by launching the MAPS program. I think something like 33 communities now have similar programs (including Tulsa's Vision2025).

I must disagree with the reporter's analysis of the game though. Since it was his first visit to an NBA game, he probably didn't realize how commercialized it would be. As a professional sport, the main goal is to make money and get sponsorships from corporations, so I'm sure advertising is heavy in all pro arenas.

As for the cleanliness, I have no way to explain it. I haven't seen any maintenance workers around downtown... Maybe people just respect downtown and don't litter.

Wichita, in my opinion, is quite a progressive city itself. It is embarking on its own urban adventure and is following Omaha in becoming a small city that is respected nationally because of its urban quality.

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Yeah, I don't take offense at the comments about the game, because obviously that's how any pro sports game would be, and not a reflection on OKC.

I have family in Wichita, and it seems like an okay city, but they are having a lot more sprawl even than OKC. They keep building nice shopping centers further and further out, and I don't know what kind of urban development they have going on besides a proposed arena (which they need badly).

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I heard something about a waterfront development in Wichita. Can't remember the name of it but the renderings looked like a nice urban development similar to Bricktown.

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Yeah, I don't take offense at the comments about the game, because obviously that's how any pro sports game would be, and not a reflection on OKC.

I have family in Wichita, and it seems like an okay city, but they are having a lot more sprawl even than OKC. They keep building nice shopping centers further and further out, and I don't know what kind of urban development they have going on besides a proposed arena (which they need badly).

Wichita completed a Lifestyle Center not too long ago called the Bradley Fair Lifestyle Center, I think.

Wichita could do so much more for Downtown Development, but it seems to be neglected.

Also, has anyone else heard about the Peerless Tower Development in Wichita? A developer wants to build a 600 Ft. Spaceneedle like Building in Downtown.

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Also, has anyone else heard about the Peerless Tower Development in Wichita? A developer wants to build a 600 Ft. Spaceneedle like Building in Downtown.

I did hear about that. http://peerlesstower.com

It looks really good, but I can't tell if it's an actual project or a fake.

And here is the website for the waterfront development that I was talking about, called the Wichita Waterwalk.

WichitaWaterwalk

It looks really nice...

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Bradley Fair is very nice with shops like Ann Taylor, Backwoods, Restoration Hardware, and Harolds, but like I was saying, they built it WAY out. It's only contributing to their sprawl.

The Waterwalk development is impressive though, and it's downtown. I used it as an example at OKCtalk for how much Hogan dropped the ball on Lower Bricktown.

The Peerless Tower is interesting, but it sounds to me like something that won't actually happen. It doesn't sound like the city or state is really behind them for funding, and I don't see it happening any other way.

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