TulsaNow is a longtime supporter of smart planning and investment in the development of Tulsa and the surrounding area. While we supported and provided much help with Vision2025, we do not support the methods in which Vision2 was assembled and rushed to vote. We do however believe that the citizens may feel led to pass this initiative and if so, Tulsa needs to make the most of its pool of money. Because of the size of the City of Tulsa’s allotment, we believe that items that directly spur private investment or will be directly matched with private donations should be given priority. We have also identified what we believe are the most important projects that could be funded by this initiative.
Our most important items:
- New downtown parking garage. Located between Cincinatti/Detroit and 2nd/3rd streets providing public parking for City offices, Tulsa PAC, and the Blue Dome District. We feel this would be a very key development for downtown as it would eliminate the need for several nearby surface lots opening them up for redevelopment. In addition, street-level retail should be included in the project, at least on the 2nd Street side. This would help tie the Blue-Dome and core business areas together, as well as provide enough income to recover some of the construction costs.
- John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Center. The park is built and it is time for the adjoining center to be built as well. A long-overdue project for Tulsa.
- Plaza Santa Cecilia. An open-air market and city center for East Tulsa has been proposed and planned for 21st and Garnett. This would be a key improvement for East Tulsa and Tulsa’s Hispanic population.
- Red Fork CIP projects. The city planning department has identified several projects to improve this West Tulsa neighborhood to develop a much-needed city center for this area as well.
- Route 66 Museum. The land and surrounding area are already developed for this project on Riverside Drive, and a proposed format that would include a restaurant would cover the operating expenses for the museum. All that is needed is the money to build a spot worthy of the visitors that Route 66 attracts.
- Oklahoma POP Museum. Another project where the land is in place and money from the City could get this project up and going quickly. Studies have already shown that this would attract visitors and make money.
- Tulsa Parks. With recent closings of Rec Centers and pools, the city should reinvest in several parks across the city. McClure Park in East Tulsa, Johnson Park near 61st and Peoria and Helmerich Park at 71st and Riverside are among those we think are under-utilized. New facilities should be built at one or more of the following locations which recently saw Rec Centers closed; Springdale, BC Franklin and Ben Hill. New facilities could be built in ways to run with lower operational costs than their predecessors.
- Campus Housing. Seed money or no-interest loans should be provided to local state-owned colleges (OSU, OU and Langston) to provide affordable on-campus or near-campus student housing to bolster enrollment and make it more affordable for potential students.
- Downtown Circulator. A downtown dedicated bus route that runs at least every 15 minutes between the major retail center, hotels, and venues would be a great way to spur further growth and get more spending out of downtown visitors and workers. Dedicated stops and ticketing could be paid for with Vision2 and with a one-way ticket price of $1, this line should be able to cover it’s own operational costs. Monthly passes could also be sold to bolster operational costs.
- Urban Redevelopment. Seed money should be provided for key urban areas around the city that need redevelopment. Suggested areas including the areas northwest of Downtown, particularly to the north, and the Crutchfield Corridor from Pine to I-244.
- Tulsa Children’s Museum. This is an organization that has proved a need and proved they can be successful. The key thing they need is a permanent location which can also be paired with another city priority such as river development.
- Downtown Housing. By far one of the best parts of Vision2025 was seed money to get developers to build housing in downtown Tulsa. Many dilapidated buildings have found new life thanks to this money and more funding should speed up this trend.
- Tulsa Zoo. While we see the need for improvements at the Zoo, this is a place that charges admission and was newly privatized. However, it is in the City’s best interests for the Zoo to do well so a small investment in the Zoo or Mohawk Park should be considered.
- Riverside drive improvements to coincide with the GKFF “Gathering Place” plan. If there are any needed infrastructure work to accommodate this plan, or obvious ways in which the city can capitalize on this effort, it should be funded.
- Two-way streets. Paint, signage and streetscaping could go a long way into making downtown more auto and pedestrian friendly.
- Complete streets. Money to provide adequate sidewalks, crosswalks and bike paths, prioritized based on need.
Some other items we think are worth considering
- Cathedral square, a proposed plan for the southern portion of downtown near TCC and several Religious centers.
- Tulsa Public Schools. What can the City do to help with the TPS budget crunch?
- Downtown landscaping and plants. What can the City do to make downtown seem more friendly and less like an asphalt jungle. Would also help with the heat-island effect seen in and around downtown.
- Pedestrian access to parks on the west wide of Riverside drive. crosswalks over and patch under should be considered to make these parks usable by people living near that area.
- Rose Bowl. A historic landmark that sits mostly vacant, but near city facilities like McClure park, could be made into a public facility or Rec Center.
- Central Library. While the Library is looking at ways to improve the facility, it is still undersized to serve as the Central library for the system and should be replaced with a much larger building to provide a welcoming environment for research, study and education.
- Art Deco Museum. Art Deco is an important architectural style, particularly in Tulsa, and the City should be encouraged to provide a hope for this museum.
- 41st/43rd Street Bridge. We believe that if a new bridge was to be built by the city, one connecting the two sides of the River, as well as connecting West Tulsa, is most important. This would open up many properties on the West Bank for retail and residential development.
- East Village Development. Greenscaping and quality of life projects should be considered for this under-developed area that is largely a barrier between downtown and the nearby neighborhoods.
Have some ideas of your own? Make sure and share them with the city by filling out their Vision2 Survey!