We're seeing exciting progress in our city – projects we are all anxious to see realized, but a process that take a great deal of time, effort and discussion. One of these is a key project of the MAPS 3 initiative – the new convention center. Eighteen months ago, we voted "yes" for the future of our city – both for an improved quality of life for us and a more attractive environment to appeal to visitors.
With the modern day renaissance we've seen over the past 15 years, our region now has the ability to not only succeed as a meetings destination, but we have a chance to excel – knocking out the competition with low costs and high quality. With more than $1.8 billion visitor dollars coming to Oklahoma City each year, this is an area we cannot afford to ignore.
For that reason, it's vital that in planning the new convention center – everything from the location to the square-footage to the design – that we do it right. And when you're planning major projects such as a new convention center, proper planning and constructive dialogue are key components of our future success.
We benefit greatly from a transparent system when it comes to the planning and execution of MAPS projects. We saw this transparency with the originals MAPS projects through both the work of the citizen advisory board and the availability of public meetings. Today, it is no different. The processes in place are there to ensure that the end result is a successful one. Our leadership and the citizens are the best of the best. MAPS-like projects are the talk of leaders in cities across the country, and such initiatives are being emulated.
The incredible success we've seen from previous MAPS projects does not mean the processes we used were without conflict. We saw conflicts in the planning and execution of both the original MAPS projects and MAPS for Kids. But at the end of the day, the results were projects our community could be proud of.
As we move forward in the planning of the convention center, and the seven other projects included in the MAPS 3 initiative, I simply ask for patience. If you have questions, ask them. But remember, that we have the best of the best working to see that the time and effort we're devoting to the projects will drive us toward a brighter future.