Downtown tops list of sales tax wishes

The list of suggested projects to spend the proposed multi-million-dollar Tulsa sales tax increase – with a lot of Downtown projects – is complete and would cost more than a billion dollars to implement.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett and the nine city councilors with the financial backing of powerful business interests connected to the chamber are planning a vote in April. While the Vision 2025 county sales tax expires in 2017, they want to add a city sales for a host of pet projects.

Many of the proposals direct millions of dollars in public funds to Downtown, where Tulsa taxpayers have spent more than $400,000,000.00 in the last few years. And some of the suggestions are on property controlled by Tulsa County, not the City of Tulsa.

Opponents of the sales tax increase say it is not needed and that Tulsa should concentrate on core services, like better streets and lower utility rates.

Here are some of the proposals listed on the city’s website.

  • An “art deco” project in the Pearl District in Midtown
  • A “river bluff” amusement park
  • A new main entrance for the Tulsa Zoo
  • Funding to submit Tulsa’s application to host the future Olympic Games
  • $75,000,000.00 for expansion of Gilcrease Museum
  • Improvements at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Downtown
  • More public artwork Downtown
  • Improvements to the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness area
  • A Greenwood Renaissance plan Downtown
  • A Downtown monorail
  • A biking/hiking trail Downtown
  • A sports complex at Mohawk Park
  • Reconstruction of the Inner dispersal loop Downtown
  • A “Tulsa Tower” at the Fairgrounds race track in Midtown
  • A Greenwood Walking Tour Downtown
  • Improvements to the Langston University campus Downtown
  • Improvements to the Oklahoma State University campus Downtown
  • Funding for Spotlight Theatre on Riverside Drive Downtown
  • Improvements for the civic center Downtown
  • Free Wi-Fi for everyone
  • A national headquarters for BMX
  • Improvements for some parks
  • Passenger rail service Downtown
  • A Tulsa Fire Museum
  • Funding for Up With Trees
  • Funding for the Air National Guard
  • Police and fire funding
  • Money for the Downtown Coordinating Council
  • Sewer improvements
  • Brookside improvements
  • Improvements for the University of Oklahoma campus in Midtown
  • Money for Tulsa Tech
  • A pedestrian land bridge for the YMCA
  • Money for Tulsa Community College
  • A garage for Tulsa Rugby
  • Money for the “Tulsa Music Scene”
  • Route 66 improvements
  • Safer crosswalks
  • Money for the OSU Medical Center
  • Money for mental health
  • Funding for OSU Genomic Research Institute
  • Money for the “All Tulsa Worship Center”
  • The “Spirit of Jazz” gallery
  • The “Peace Center”
  • Various projects from the nine council districts
  • A Center of the Universe transportation hub Downtown

Public comments on the how to spend the new taxes include cleaner streets, better grass maintenance and conversion of the old Driller Stadium at 15th Street and Yale Avenue into to an “X Games Park.”

The public wants proper maintenance of water lines and sewer lines without the annual rate increases from the city council.

The public wants the city administration to work with the county officials, especially when it comes to law enforcement.

Comments on the wish list include:

  • Bury all new power lines.
  • Build a pedestrian bridge over the Arkansas River at 61st Street.
  • Create an amusement park like Silver Dollar City in Branson.
  • Install outdoor exercise equipment at city parks.
  • Repair or replace public swimming pools.
  • Let the county sales tax expire and don’t replace it with a new sales tax.
  • Build a youth athletic facility.
  • Spend money to rebuild the areas around Sheridan Road between Admiral Boulevard and Pine Avenue.
  • Add motion-sensored pedestrian cross walks.
  • Maintain and widen city streets.
  • Eliminate one-way streets downtown.
  • Update highway off ramps.
  • Build a huge parking garage at the fairgrounds.