Broken Arrow residents weigh in on Vision2 proposals
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Monday, September 17, 2012
Broken Arrow: Read previous stories related to Broken Arrow and get contact information for Broken Arrow officials.
Vision2: Read previous stories, an overview of Vision2 and a recap of Vision 2025.
BROKEN ARROW — The city could choose its potential Vision2 projects as early as Tuesday after hearing from a handful of residents Monday at a public meeting on the proposal, Mayor Craig Thurmond said.
The city is looking to spend its $44.1 million share of Vision2 funding on road and public-safety improvements if voters approve the $748.8 million countywide sales-tax extension Nov. 6.
Under consideration is a list of projects that include widening five streets, building a new stretch of Main Street and converting two fire stations into ambulance hubs.
The City Council is set to discuss the projects Tuesday.
“It is my hope that we will vote tomorrow,” Thurmond said after Monday’s meeting. “The sooner we can get this done, the better.”
The city hopes to have plenty of time before the election to inform voters of how it would spend the money, he said.
Six residents and representatives of two organizations offered their opinions of Vision2 during Monday’s meeting at Central on Main, a Broken Arrow Public Schools facility, and asked the city to consider additional projects.
Roger Finn said he supports the street projects but would like officials to ensure that they include trees and sidewalks.
“Let’s not do it on the cheap,” he said. “When quality is considered, you want to do it right the first time.”
He also suggested a new senior center and improving downtown housing, and he asked officials not to build the new stretch of Main Street, calling it a “road to nowhere.”
The new road would go north from Kenosha (71st) Street about two blocks east of Elm Place (161st East Avenue), connecting to Oakland Place.
Proponents say it would open a vacant strip of land to development and serve as an entrance to downtown if connected to a proposed frontage road on the Broken Arrow Expressway.
The frontage road is not among the Vision2 projects.
Doug Shrout said he would like park projects funded by Vision2, but he added that the city has “done a good job putting together (its) urgent needs.”
Bill Lanning said he supports remodeling the fire stations because paramedics from one of the stations saved his life when he had a heart attack.
But two of the speakers said they didn’t know enough about Vision2 to support it.
Ralph Grünhof said he wants Broken Arrow to fund its own projects without help from the rest of the county, and he added that he was unsure how the proposal would work.
“Why can’t Broken Arrow take care of itself?” he asked. “Why does this have to be tied to Tulsa County?”
The proposal would extend the countywide 0.6 percent Vision 2025 sales tax through 2029. Without the extension, the tax is set to expire Jan 1, 2017.
One of the proposal’s two propositions designates $361.9 million for quality-of-life improvements, with the county and each of its cities receiving a portion to use on their own projects.
The other proposition includes $386 million for economic development, facility improvements at Tulsa International Airport, and job-creation incentives.
Thurmond said that package is important to Broken Arrow because as many as 2,000 of the city’s residents have jobs at or supported by the airport and because the airport facilities contribute millions of dollars to the city’s economy.
Proposed BA Vision2 projects
Road projects ($27.7 million):
Widening to five lanes:
Albany Street (61st Street) from Lynn Lane Road (177th East Avenue) to County Line Road (193rd East Avenue)
Kenosha Street (71st Street) from Main Street to Elm Place (161st East Avenue)
Houston Street (81st Street) from Garnett Road to Aspen Avenue (145th East Avenue)
Washington Street (91st Street) from Garnett Road to Aspen Avenue
New Orleans Street (101st Street) from Olive Street (129th East Avenue) to Aspen Avenue
Improving intersection of County Line Road and Albany Street
Public safety ($3.15 million):
Remodeling fire stations at 2900 S. Elm Place and 8000 S. Elm Place into ambulance hubs
Buying 35 police cars, 1 firetruck
Other ($13.25 million): Inflation, unexpected costs, future projects and interest on bonds the city could issue if it decides to start the projects before it receives the Vision2 funding