Legislation would expedite park project, lawmaker says
BY MICHAEL McNUTT NewsOk.com
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
1/20/13 at 8:23 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY — Legislation that would transfer ownership of land from the state to the city of Tulsa for a planned park to commemorate the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot will expedite the project, a state lawmaker said Wednesday.
The state, after allocating $3.7 million for the project, has stalled in recent years to pay the remaining $1.3 million of its $5 million commitment, Rep. Jabar Shumate said.
Shumate, a Tulsa Democrat and the House author of Senate Bill 256, said city officials, with the help of U.S. Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, are trying to get the memorial designated with the National Park Service.
The House International Relations and Tourism Committee passed SB 256 on Wednesday. It now goes to the full House.
The park and a proposed museum grew out of a legislative commission that looked into the 1921 Tulsa race riot. In 2002, as a result of the Race Riot Commission Act, the Legislature agreed to provide as much as $5 million for the project.
The site of the John Hope Franklin Greenwood Reconciliation Memorial and Museum would commemorate the riot that killed at least 38 people, destroyed the Greenwood district and left thousands homeless.
It is on about three acres across Elgin Avenue from the new baseball stadium being built on the northeast edge of downtown.
“The city of Tulsa has funding to complete the project,” Shumate said. “This is basically an administrative move to shift responsibility to them so that they can add to the funds that already exist to complete the project. They want to get it done.”
The park is expected to cost about $5 million. In addition to the state money, the city of Tulsa has allocated more than $900,000 for the project, with the rest coming from private donations.
Plans call for the park to include three sculptures and three granite towers, representing hostility, humiliation and hope. The centerpiece will be the Tower of Reconciliation, a 27-foot-tall monument depicting the history of blacks and American Indians in Oklahoma, from slavery to the present.
The park is named for historian John Hope Franklin, who grew up in Tulsa. Franklin died last week. His father, B.C. Franklin, was a well-known Tulsa attorney at the time of the riot.
State Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa