Architectural foundation will honor OKC's mayor

Thursday, December 13, 2012

by Michael Kimball

The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett is set to receive a national architecture award next year in recognition of his role in advancing MAPS 3.   

The American Architectural Foundation and U.S. Conference of Mayors announced Wednesday at a news conference outside Chesapeake Energy Arena that Cornett will receive the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for Leadership in Urban Design. Cornett will be presented the award in Washington, D.C., this spring.  

“Architecture has the power to transform cities,” said Ron Bogle, the architecture foundation’s CEO. “We know no better example of a city that has used the tool of architecture design and construction to literally transform itself over a period of a few short years.”   

The foundation chose to honor Cornett because of his leadership in steering MAPS 3 through the preliminary planning stages and on to a successful vote campaign and construction.   

“Sometimes it’s nice to have someone from the outside to come in, take a look at your city and say, ‘Wow, you guys have done it right,’ ” Cornett said.   

That the news conference was held in front of the sparking new south entrance to Chesapeake Energy Arena was no accident. The ongoing renovations at the arena also were paid for by the same penny sales tax that funded all three MAPS campaigns so far.   

Former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick, instrumental in getting the first MAPS program off the ground, also was on hand Wednesday to be recognized by the architecture foundation for his leadership. He, former Mayor Kirk Humphreys and Cornett have overseen the various MAPS campaigns, and by extension Oklahoma City’s renaissance.   

“We want to grow our city,” Norick said. “We want a place where our kids are able to stay here, educate themselves to get jobs here, and be able to live a fruitful life.”   

Cornett is the third recipient of the award, following mayors from Chicago and Philadelphia.