Tulsa identifies three areas ripe for development of public land
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Friday, October 26, 2012
10/26/12 at 8:12 AM
Read continuing coverage of Tulsa’s City Council.
The city of Tulsa has identified three areas of town in which to focus on the development - or redevelopment - of public land.
The areas include the former Evans-Fintube industrial site north of downtown; the west bank of the Arkansas River and the Eugene Field neighborhood; and Turkey Mountain and the 71st Street corridor.
City Planning Director Dawn Warrick told city councilors during a committee meeting Thursday that things are happening in those areas that can give the city real momentum.
"It came to a point that I realized that we had activities going on and some real impetus and direction in specific parts of the community," Warrick said. "We really need to play off of our best features, and downtown and the river are naturals."
She noted, for example, that the city is in the process of cleaning up the Evans-Fintube site through its brownfields remediation program and that a small-area plan is being developed for the Eugene Field neighborhood in west Tulsa.
At the same time, development of the west bank of the Arkansas River has been discussed for years, and the preservation and expansion of the urban wilderness at Turkey Mountain is a goal of the city's administration.
Identifying development sites also "gives us the ability to focus on ways to connect these activity areas with transportation components," Warrick said.
Identifying development areas and creating procedures by which the city could facilitate development of under-used public properties was one of the shared goals established by the City Council and Mayor's Office early this year.
Council Chairman G.T. Bynum said the city should not be in the development business.
"But the city should be in the business of focusing on a few areas at a time ... to do what we need to do on our end to make it highly desirable for the private sector to then come in and develop those" areas, Bynum said, adding, "I'm excited about this."
After the meeting, Warrick, too, stressed that the city is not in the development business.
But, she said, there are things the city can do to make properties more attractive for development.
"We may be able to ensure that there is adequate infrastructure, look at the logistics of accessing the site or prezone properties for certain kinds of use," she said.
The city has no intention of encouraging commercial development on Turkey Mountain, Warrick said.
"We have this idea of urban wilderness that we want to expand," she said "I don't see this as being a commercial mecca; this is just an attractive destination."
City councilors are expected to get their next update from Warrick in January, when she will present specific suggestions on how the city can assist in the development of the three targeted areas.
Original Print Headline: City identifies 3 areas ripe for development
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
Council Chairman G.T. Bynum: He says the city should not be in the business of development but that he's excited about finding ways the city can help the private-sector development in the targeted areas of the city