Bricktown Canal celebrates success, 15 years
OKLAHOMA CITY — In the heart of Bricktown, a fairly typical Saturday afternoon.Music, crowds, even a little guy in Superman cape---who has an opinion, shared by many, about the Bricktown area:"Awesome!" said Barrett Bland.Barrett's mom Mandie says she remembers the downtown that used to be here, just a few years ago."When I was a kid, this wasn't this at all. You didn't come downtown. You didn't do this," Mandie Bland said.Bricktown's Canal is celebrating 15 years this summer.But the power of water made all the difference. This is what the area where the Harkins Theatre stands now. Empty... Oklahoma's red dirt the prime sight.California Street, where the canal is now, was abandoned and quiet.While most the buildings are the originals that were here before, practically everything else is brand new. Oklahoma City built a destination for people to come. Not only did people come, but they brought their money as well. "The transformation has really spread throughout the city of Oklahoma City throughout downtown," said Chad Huntington, General Manager of Water Taxi LLC.Huntington has run the Water Taxi service since the beginning. He's seen what this means to the area economy.Some economists project the economic impact from all the additions tops a billion dollars.Without Bricktown, most say we wouldn't have an NBA team---and project our economy wouldn't be nearly as good."It represents jobs, it represents other economic development along the canal, what MAPS did for Oklahoma City and what the canal has done for Oklahoma City has really created a vibrant economy that has had a ripple effect throughout Oklahoma City and throughout the state," Huntington said.