Council approves stadium trust revenue bonds measure, asks legislature to save OSU Medical Center
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
6/30/09 at 3:38 PM
The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday night to allow the Tulsa Stadium Trust to issue $25 million in revenue bonds to help fund a downtown ballpark.
Meanwhile, the council also unanimously approved a resolution asking state lawmakers to take action to save the OSU Medical Center and ensure long-term indigent health care for Tulsa and the region.
“This is a matter of life and death,” Councilor Eric Gomez said, with the room packed with the hospital’s resident physicians.
Mayor Kathy Taylor said she would sign the resolution and that City Clerk Mike Kier would officially stamp and file it that night so it could be delivered Friday morning to the Oklahoma Legislature.
The decision to move OSU’s faculty and residency program to St. Francis Hospital is expected to result in the OSU Medical Center’s closing.
St. John Medical Center this week proposed to state officials that it take over operation of the OSU Medical Center and maintain its residency program. The proposal hinges on the creation of a public trust to take responsibility for the facility.
Councilors chided state officials for insufficiently funding indigent health care in northeastern Oklahoma for too long.
Councilor G.T. Bynum said what is happening affects everyone.
“If this hospital closes, the impact it will have on our emergency rooms across the community will be catastrophic,” he said.
Councilor Bill Martinson said there’s a limit to what the city can do, and he urged people to put pressure on their state elected officials and the governor.
The council’s action on the ballpark moves it closer to construction, with a groundbreaking expected before the end of the year.
The trust is overseeing the $60 million project, which includes construction of a 6,200-seat baseball stadium and the acquisition of adjacent properties for mixed-use development.
The revenue bonds will be repaid over 30 years with $25 million collected through assessment fees on downtown property.
Other funding for the project includes $30 million in private donations and $5 million from a lease with the city’s Double A baseball team, the Tulsa Drillers.
The ballpark will be in the historic Greenwood District.
Thursday night’s council meeting was the final one in the Francis Campbell Council Meeting Room adjacent to the former City Hall, and many former city officials showed up to share their memories.
The next regular council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 4 in the 10th-floor north
conference room of the new City Hall at Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue. Work is ongoing to finish the new council chambers.