Ex-Tulsa councilor: Cousins Park project disruption reason to reject Vision2
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Saturday, November 03, 2012
11/03/12 at 5:40 AM
Read more about the proposal and the status of Vision 2025 projects.
The delay of a long-planned south Tulsa park because of a possible bridge that would be funded in part by Vision2 shows the need to vote against the tax package, mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen said.
"I am not opposed to visioning and planning for our needs as we get closer to the expiration of Vision 2025," he said in a news release issued late Thursday. "I am proposing a thorough, transparent and inclusive vision process with dialogue with the citizens of Tulsa to see what we need and how to accomplish those needs."
The $748.8 million Vision2 package's fate will be decided Tuesday by Tulsa County voters.
Christiansen, the only announced candidate so far in Tulsa's 2013 mayoral race, served on the council from 2002 until 2011 and spent years trying to make the Grace K. Cousins Park a reality.
Charles Cousins conceived of the park decades ago as a tribute to his wife, Grace Cousins.
The Cousins family donated 10 acres at the southwest corner of 121st Street and Yale Avenue to the city Park and Recreation Department in 1998, with the stipulation that it remain a conservation area and that the family be involved in its design.
A few years ago, the city bought 35 more acres bounded by 121st, Yale and the Arkansas River for $950,000 with the intention of eventually turning the entire site into a park.
Before Christiansen left the council, he helped secure $244,375 from the city for the first phase of the project, with an additional $2.2 million to be raised privately for subsequent phases. But the work was put on hold because of a Bixby proposal for a toll bridge across the Arkansas River.
The bridge, funded in part by Bixby's $11.3 million share of Vision2 quality-of-life money, would land just south of the park, at about 124th Street, and include an extension of Delaware Avenue through Cousins Park to 121st.
Part of what bothers him about Vision2, Christiansen said, is the loose nature of the projects included and their impact.
Proposition 2 of the package includes $361.7 million worth of quality-of-life projects, but none is specified on the ballot, he said.
"Let's create a better vision for Tulsa," Christiansen said. "We have the time to do it right. We may not have the chance to do it over."
Mayoral Chief of Staff Jarred Brejcha said Cousins Park still will move forward.
"We are doing our due diligence as far as evaluating all of the factors that go into the project," he said, "whether that is the long-term maintenance funding (estimated to be $3,000 annually) or surrounding infrastructure in question."
Original Print Headline: Park delay called a good reason to vote against tax
Brian Barber 918-581-8322
Bill Christiansen: He helped secure funding for the park while on the City Council