COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Oklahoma City citizens voted this week to fund $60 million in improvements to the Oklahoma River, a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site, through the Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS 3) as part of a $777 million initiative.
The projects approved on December 8 include a 70-acre central park connecting downtown to the Oklahoma River, construction of a new convention center and 57 new miles of biking and walking trails, among others. The projects targeted for the Oklahoma River will enhance its emerging position as one of the premier urban aquatic venues for rowing and canoe/kayak, both nationally and internationally. These include construction of:
 Permanent grandstands with a floating stage  Additional race course infrastructure, including a pneumatic starting system  Scoreboard and sound system  Wind screens on the south shore of the river  Permanent lighting for night racing  Expanded parking and staging areas including additional boat ramps and docks  A whitewater kayak and rafting center for both elite racing and community recreation
"The U.S. Olympic Committee is thrilled that Oklahoma City voted to continue to invest in sport, not only for America’s elite athletes, but also for our country’s future champions," Mike English, U.S. Olympic Committee Chief of Sport Performance, said. "The community is committed to creating opportunities for its citizens to lead active, healthy lifestyles, which is a core value of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements."
The improvements to the Oklahoma River will enhance existing planned development which includes the construction of three new boathouses in addition to the existing Chesapeake Boathouse, and a four-story Chesapeake Finish Line tower which will meet FISA standards. Construction of the $10 million Devon Boathouse is already underway and is expected to be completed by fall of next year.
"The success of the MAPS 3 vote is an exciting milestone for Oklahoma City," Mike Knopp, executive director of the OKC Boathouse Foundation, said. "It showcases Oklahoma City’s commitment to building a world-class city and a world-class venue that will advance both the sports of rowing and canoe kayak, and our position as a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site for years to come."
In July, the Oklahoma River was named a U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Site for the sports of rowing and canoe/kayak. The River offers a 2000-meter straight, sheltered race course and boathouse facilities within walking distance of downtown Oklahoma City and the Bricktown entertainment district. It has been the site of numerous national and international competitions hosted by the OKC Boathouse Foundation, and the National Governing Bodies of USRowing and USA Canoe/Kayak both designated the Oklahoma River as a national training site. For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529 or visit Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.