Business Strategy: Paseo Arts District unveils upgrades just in time for Arts Festival | The Journal Record


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Kenton Tsoodle
Kenton Tsoodle

Ushering in Oklahoma City’s official start of summer, the 2024 Paseo Arts Festival takes place this weekend in the historic Paseo Arts District.

New this year, festivalgoers will enjoy safer roads and sidewalks, more lighting and other enhancements –– a milestone for the district’s multi-million project funded by OKC’s Better Streets, Safer City Temporary Sales Tax Program.

Better Streets, Safer City is funding more than $1.2 billion in critical infrastructure across OKC, including an annual $26 million boost for public safety and other day-to-day operations.

The Paseo Arts District Enhancement Project improved the district’s walkability and ADA access by replacing sidewalks, repaving streets and upgrading handicapped parking. The project included new benches, trash cans, bike racks, message boards, streetlights, landscaping, irrigation and pet waste stations, and installed water and electrical infrastructure to support festivals.

Resident feedback and planning studies helped identify priorities for long-term basic and critical infrastructure needs, such as the streets, bridges, sidewalks, parks and drainage that every community needs.

We all benefit from public investments that boost Oklahoma City’s infrastructure and walkability. Investing in our streets, bridges and sidewalks is important to our quality of life, connecting neighborhoods to our many greenspaces, bike trails, parks and amenities, and increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety. It is also a sign of economic viability. Studies show that areas that have invested more in infrastructure tend to have greater output, more private investment and more employment growth.

If you have not visited the Paseo Arts District lately, I invite you to check it out. The art festival over Memorial Day weekend is the perfect opportunity. In addition to the annual arts festival, the district boasts more than 20 galleries, restaurants and walkable boutiques. Each year, the Paseo Arts Festival draws more than 60,000 people who come to enjoy the art, music, food trucks and more. You’ll experience exciting changes in the heart of the Paseo Arts District and see how our public investments have come to life and helped to support this fun art festival.

Funding for the capital improvements program came from a one-cent, limited-term sales tax that ends this year. But the benefits — debt-free projects that improve our quality of life — are positive investments for generations to come.

Kenton Tsoodle is the president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City. 


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