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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The MAPS 4 Citizens Advisory Board (CAB) met Thursday to start the early phases of two major projects that together amount to $120 million.

The CAB considered the language and process of requests for proposals (RFP) for potential operators of two major components of the MAPS 4 slate of projects.

  • An RFP was approved for an operating partner for the MAPS 4 Youth Centers. 
  • Another RFP was approved to find a development/operating partner for the MAPS 4 Homelessness package.

The Board is made up of one citizen per ward and one at-large member, one rotating City Council member (currently Ward 8’s Mark Stonecipher), and MAPS Program Manager David Todd.

Marty Peercy reports Local government

RFP Process

The RFP process for MAPS 4 projects is much the same as other RFPs the City puts out for vendors on most projects.

For most, if not all of the projects, the RFP selection process starts before the design phase. 

Some pre-design work is to be done on most projects, but until an operating partner has been selected, concrete design work and site selection wait. This way, an operating partner can be intimately involved in design and construction so facilities can fit the purpose.

Both RFPs approved at Thursday’s meeting, though having very different requirements, will be advertised temporarily before the selection process begins.

Before selection, there is a pre-proposal conference for interested bidders. That conference is an opportunity for potential vendors to ask questions about the RFP and the project. However, according to Jason Cotton with MAPS consulting form ADG, those meetings are usually quiet, as the room is full of business competitors.

When selected, the bidder chosen by the selection committee will require approval of the City Council.

Youth Centers RFP

The first project discussed at Thursday’s meeting was the MAPS 4 Youth Centers.

For this project, expected to come in at $70 million, the Board seeks a single operator.

This is a departure from the MAPS 3 Senior Wellness Centers, each of which has its own operating partner.

MAPS Program Manager David Todd explained that the Willa Johnson Recreation Center will be opening relatively soon. Since that facility is not a piece of the MAPS package, the Youth Centers will need to be equitable with the Johnson Center’s programming and amenities.

If only one entity is in charge of the youth center system, that equity might be easier to achieve and enforce.

Monique Bruner of Ward 7 expressed concern that diverse vendors might not have the capital backing to be able to bid such a big project.

Todd and consultants explained that one legal entity will have to be in charge of the whole of the project, but that the desire would be for that entity to subcontract with other providers to offer a diverse array of programming.

The City Council set an intention for this project that operation policies will facilitate partnerships with existing organizations in the community that serve young people.

The $70 million price tag includes the construction of at least four new youth centers, and renovation of existing Parks facilities that could function as youth centers.

Approval of the RFP by the CAB moves the item to the City Council for approval. If approved, the RFP will be advertised starting December 22. The pre-proposal conference will be held on the 20th day of January. The deadline for proposals will be February 16. A vendor will be selected by March of 2022.

The RFP was approved by the CAB unanimously.

Homelessness RFP

The MAPS 4 project concerning homelessness is much more abstract than most MAPS projects have traditionally been. 

While it focuses on housing, and specifically the Housing First model of services for people experiencing homelessness, it also includes funding for “wrap-around services.” That is an industry term of art referring to the many case management services that people often need after being housed in order to maintain that housing.

In a major departure from the usual RFPs produced for MAPS projects, this operator and development partner must be a government agency.

When asked for examples of government agencies that might be interested in being a partner on the project, David Todd pointed out that the Oklahoma City Housing Authority (OCHA) was the entity that made the initial pitch for this project as a part of MAPS 4.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health/Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) could also be a partner.

The project comes in at $50 million in five $10 million phases. A vendor may apply for one phase or all five.

While some of the money is reserved for truly affordable housing for those living at 60% or below Area Mean Income (AMI), some of the money is for housing for those at 60% through 100% AMI. That has been termed “workforce housing.”

The key to any organization’s ability to be the operator of this project is its ability to leverage the MAPS 4 money into future opportunities to address homelessness, a requirement not placed on many MAPS projects.

Also, a departure from many of the other projects in this slate, the development and operating partner is expected to design and demonstrate measurable outcomes and “citizen oversight.”

Since the RFP was approved Thursday by the CAB, it will be heard by the City Council on December 21. If the Council approves, the RFP will be advertised on December 22. The pre-proposal conference will be held on January 12. The deadline for proposals is February 9, and selection should take place by March.

The MAPS 4 Citizens Advisory Board will meet again in January.

Disclosure: Marty Peercy is the husband of Oklahoma City Council member JoBeth Hamon.

Last Updated January 13, 2022, 3:55 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor