Some councilors support Tulsa Olympic bid
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
12/22/09 at 4:18 PM
View the presentations on bringing the Olympics to Tulsa
Three of the four newly seated city councilors seem to be on board with an effort for the city to make a bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
“We need to believe we can do this and we have five other councilors that need to see the same thing,” Councilor Jim Mautino said.
Mautino and Councilors Roscoe Turner and Chris Trail, who all replaced incumbents, along with Councilor Jack Henderson attended a special meeting Tuesday to hear a presentation by an exploratory committee for making an Olympic bid.
Councilor Maria Barnes, who also replaced an incumbent, was absent.
The presentation by Neil Mavis and Michael Jones was given to the former council in August.
Henderson said he would like to see Tulsa try to snag the games.
He said when the idea was first floated, “a lot of people were laughing. Now less people are laughing and more people are listening.”
The other councilors also said they thought the idea was worth pursuing.
“Tulsa is no stranger of doing the impossible,” Mautino said, pointing to the city’s creation of a water source 100 miles away at Spavinaw Lake, which was completed in 1924 and gained national attention.
“It’s very exciting,” Trail said. ‘But it is hard for me to get my mind on it with the budget crunch issues.”
Trail also said he has concerns about the cost of operating the facilities after the Olympics are gone.
Mavis said Tulsa will work with universities and municipalities to lessen the risk of facilities being abandoned later. He pointed to Atlanta, Ga., and how the velodrome for cycling events was built as a temporary building.
Atlanta was awarded the 1996 summer games. Tulsa’s exploratory committee has used Atlanta as a model for Tulsa’s effort.
Mavis pointed out that Atlanta’s mayor at the time the idea was floated said was “crazy .?.?. but had tremendous potential.”
An aerial photo of the Arkansas River and the skyline of downtown Tulsa taken in July. TOM GILBERT/ Tulsa World File