Vision2 - Propositions 1 & 2
BY BOB DICK
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
10/31/12 at 3:22 AM
Related Story: The wrong plan at the wrong time
For more than 100 years, leaders in our city have been working to move this region forward. In the early 1900s, business leaders paved the way for higher education by moving Henry Kendall College to Tulsa and building the University of Tulsa.
As our city continued to grow, the need for a reliable source of clean water increased and leaders looked to Lake Spavinaw to bring water to Tulsa. In 1928, our city's commitment to aerospace was paved when William Skelly and community leaders pledged the famous "studhorse note" to buy land suitable for the airport. Within 18 months, the Tulsa airport was one of the busiest in the world.
We saw leadership again in 1932 when the 21st Street Bridge was built across the Arkansas River, opening a major thoroughfare between downtown and the growing western suburbs.
In 1971, public support made it possible for the Tulsa Port of Catoosa to open and gave Tulsa an economic boom. The port's 2,000-acre industrial park provided jobs for thousands of workers by the 21st century.
Our city has seen its share of downturns and, after the oil bust, efforts to bolster our economy saw defeat, but on Sept. 9, 2003, I was proud to see voters approve four propositions to fund capital improvements and economic development.
As a leader of the Vision 2025 effort, I believe it's hard to deny that our region has seen substantial results. We have been able to keep industry here and have enhanced higher education institutions, funded new health clinics, improved our parks and community centers, renovated our convention center and built the BOK Center - a catalyst for growth in our city's core.
Now is the time for us to take the next step. We are in a position to keep this region moving forward with Vision2. Or we could see our region slip with the loss of jobs and lack of commitment to making this a place where businesses want to be. I don't want to send a signal to the world that Tulsa is not a proud community poised to continue to make progress and be competitive with any region in the world.
While it's easy to point out reasons why any plan won't work, we have to face the difficult reality of our world right now and work together as a unified region. We have the support of area leadership, who are pro-actively working together to make sure our region continues to be competitive with not only jobs, but with projects that will keep our communities thriving.
When we passed Vision 2025, we were embarking on new territory by working together as a region to make our entire county a better place to live and work. We now have examples of what types of public investment projects have worked. We have seen the private investment that has followed the dollars that we invested - and created a national model for accountability. Now each community can make its own decisions about the projects that are best for the community's future.
While we all know that Proposition 1 is focused on jobs, it is vital that we also understand that Proposition 2 is just as vital to economic development.
These two propositions rely on one another. Without the jobs to support a tax base for community improvement, we can't do things like put water in the Arkansas River, address the long overdue juvenile justice facility or repair our county's roads and bridges. And without the community improvements, it will make for a tough sell in getting more companies to move to our city. People want to build businesses in places that have the pride to invest in themselves for a better future.
We must have that pride and be leaders like those before us and continue our path forward. I urge you to join me in saying yes to continued improvement, continued growth, and continued success for our entire county. Join me in voting yes to Vision2 - Tulsa County Propositions 1 and 2 on Nov. 6.
Bob Dick is a former Tulsa County Commissioner.
Proposition 2 would fund quality-of-life improvements including creating and upgrading Arkansas River dams. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World file
Bob Dick: I urge you to join me in saying yes to continued improvement, continued growth, and continued success for our entire county. Join me in voting yes to Vision2.