Council concerns about ballpark trust panel being worked out
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
6/30/09 at 3:41 PM
Read the latest version of the
Tulsa Stadium Trust:
Changes to a proposed downtown ballpark trust that include expanding the membership and shortening the length of terms appear to satisfy issues expressed by city councilors.
"I think we have something the majority of the councilors can approve," Councilor Eric Gomez said Tuesday during a council committee meeting discussion.
Mayor Kathy Taylor has proposed a $60 million downtown ballpark project that includes a stadium for the Tulsa Drillers and redevelopment of land surrounding it.
Creation of the Tulsa Stadium Trust is necessary to accept the $30 million in private donations and to oversee the ballpark and redevelopment efforts.
A 30-year downtown property assessment fee will contribute $25 million and the Drillers' lease will add an additional $5 million.
Although the city and the Double A baseball team have reached a lease agreement "in principle," the trust will own the ballpark and no lease can be signed until it is created. The city will be the sole beneficiary of the public trust.
Earlier this month, a majority of councilors said they had issues with a trust proposal that included the mayor's husband, Bill Lobeck, as a trustee, lacked trustees who were downtown property owners, gave donors 12-year terms on the trust, and vaguely described the scope of the trust.
Since the issues were raised, Lobeck has declined the trustee seat.
Gomez said before Tuesday's committee meeting that the ballpark donors initially wanted only a five-member trust, and "I said: 'Guys, are you kidding me? There is no way we can get that done.' "
During the meeting, Gomez said all the councilors have had a lot of input on what "should and could be changed" to raise their comfort level about the trust.
Proposed trustee and ballpark backer Stan Lybarger said the donors have listened to the concerns and the current trust document attempts to reflect them "and still end up with a workable document and functional trust that can get the job done."
Lybarger said until the past few days, the focus of the ballpark backers has been on negotiations with the Drillers, "which was quite a project in and of itself and took a fair amount of time, more than we originally anticipated."
Lybarger said the latest version of the trust document expands the membership to nine — one seat for the mayor, three seats for downtown property owners, one seat for the Greenwood Community Development Corp. and four seats for donors.
Lybarger said once he serves his four years as a donor member of the trust, his seat will go to another property owner, tipping the majority away from the donors.
"The intent is to say, 'We (donors) want to be actively involved in this during the construction phase where the greatest risk is, and get this built on budget and on time, stabilize the operation, and then step into the background and move into a more broadly based community board," he said.
Trustees can serve more than one term but not consecutively.
Lybarger said donors also agreed to insert language clarifying the scope of the trust's powers over land activities.
The land adjacent to the stadium site is being acquired for the trust so it can oversee redevelopment that would "stimulate the environment" of the ballpark project.
Lybarger said the language will limit the real estate under the trust's control to an area bounded by Detroit Avenue on the west, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad rights of way to the south, excluding the property under contract by the Greenwood Community Development Corp., and Interstate 244 on the north.
Although, donors want the council to approve the trust at its Thursday meeting to reduce growing construction costs, some councilors don't want the process rushed.
"I think it is really important that we provide the opportunity through the normal channels that we do for the public to have input on this," said Councilor G.T. Bynum.
The council could have a first reading for the proposed trust Thursday, but because of the Labor Day holiday, its next regular meeting where action could be taken would not be until Sept. 11.
P.J. Lassek 581-8382
Proposed trust membership
- Mayor Kathy Taylor, serves through her term
- Steven Malcolm, CEO of Williams Co., a
donor and representing downtown property
owners, four-year term
- Glenn Strobel, owner of Team Properties,
downtown property owner with less than
250,000 square feet of property, three years
- Larry Lyon, owner of Lyon’s Indian Store,
downtown property owner with less than
100,000 square feet of property, four years
- Reuben Gant, president of Greenwood
Chamber of Commerce, representing the Greenwood Community Development Corp.,
- The remaining trustee seats are five-year
terms but will begin as staggered terms.
- James Adelson, president of the Nadel and
Gussman oil and gas company, a donor to the
ballpark project, two years
- John-Kelly Warren, CEO of the William K.
Warren Foundation, a donor to the ballpark
project, three years
- Stan Lybarger, Bank of Oklahoma president,
a donor to the ballpark project, four years
- John Gibson, CEO of Oneok, a donor to the
ballpark project, five years
An artist's rendering shows the proposed new Tulsa Drillers ballpark.Courtesy