Name selection process for MAPS 3 park is a debacle…
12:54 PM EDT on June 2, 2017
Back in May, we leaked the 5,000+ name ideas that citizens submitted to the city for the new MAPS 3 park. The list included the standard mix of boring (Bison Park), trendy (Parkie McParkface), and mean (Shit River Parkola).
From there, the city formed a committee of boring people to sort through the submissions and pick the six most drab and generic names possible for a public vote. Here's what they came up with:
• Skydance Green• Union Station Commons• Painted Sky Park• Renaissance Green• Prairie River Park• Scissortail Park
Yep. That's it. Pretty awful, huh? I don't think Steve Lackmeyer would choose any of those names for his new park in Sim City.
The names are so bad that even Kelly Ogle complained about them on My 2 Cents. I can't blame him. The committee overlooked several popular choices. For example, the city received over 150 submissions for some iteration of Parky McParkface. It didn't get any love. Union Station Commons – which sounds like the name for a new development in Edmond, not a park you want to go to gay cruise on a hot summer night – didn't even make the initial list of 5,000, but made the final six. How does that happen?
Slackmeyer explained this morning in his NewsOK.com chat:
To make this whole process an even bigger debacle, the city isn't hosting the voting on the official OKC.gov website. Instead, they chose NewsOK.com to be the official home of online polling. Yeah, that's right. We have to count on the propaganda outlet for the oil industry overlords to do this fair and right. Oh well, I guess if you're going to vote for a boring park name, it might as well be at the website of our state's most boring media outlet.
Obviously, city leadership playing favorites and sending valuable web traffic to a loathed third-party media outlet for free without any sort of open bidding or selection process has rubbed people around town the wrong way. You can tell it really pissed off News 9. In addition to Kelly's complaints, they didn't even link to the official NewsOK poll on the News 9 website. They launched their own poll instead. To throw even more shade, they even included Kelly's prefered choice - Land Run Park – as an option. I guess Kelly never got the memo that the Land Run is bad now.
I don't blame News 9 and other media outlets for being upset. It is a short-sighted, shitty thing for city leadership to do. Why does NewsOK.com deserve the honor? Web traffic has value. And although the Oklahoman has made the voting page ad-free, they still provide a list of clickbait to ad-supported, biased, NewsOK.com articles about the park...
The Oklahoman is also advertising the poll heavily on its site, which tells me they think there is value behind the voting.
The Oklahoman is also trying to score Facebook likes, which adds value to the deal:
To be clear, I don't have a problem with the city using a third-party media outlet to manage the polling. I would also never want to host something official like this on TLO. I just think there should be an open process to select which media website gets to host the poll, and the obvious and not-so-obvious perks that go along with it.
Anyway, I'll probably post this as a separate article next week, but I thought it would be fun to launch our own unofficial poll to determine the worst name of the five candidates. Vote below. Considering how big of a debacle this thing has been so far, expect the worst option to win.