City Hall report
BY BRIAN BARBER & KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writers
Sunday, November 11, 2012
11/11/12 at 3:08 AM
Find all the stories from Staff Writers Brian Barber and Kevin Canfield about city government in Tulsa.
"I am really excited because I get a chance to represent my city." - 25-year-old Arianna Moore, on her election as District 7 city councilor and as the youngest councilor in Tulsa's history.
"The people are accepting me back, and I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and go to work for them at City Hall." - Councilor Jack Henderson, on his re-election to District 1.
Week in review
Winter preparedness: Tulsans probably won't give winter much of a thought as temperatures remain mild this week, but eventually it will come, and city officials said they are ready to respond.
"We seem to always pick a very nice day to talk about winter preparedness," Mayor Dewey Bartlett said Monday at a press conference.
"But one day, in the not-too-distant future, it will be cold and snow will fall. We are ready for it now, and we will be ready for it then."
The city has more resources to call upon this winter, with seven new truck-mounted sand-and-salt spreaders for a total of 62, seven new truck-mounted snow plows for a fleet of 45 and one more motor-grader that can be used as a plow for a total of four.
The equipment was purchased through the third-penny sales-tax program following the February 2011 blizzard that left Tulsa immobilized. Spreaders and plows work 36 specific routes that are prioritized based on traffic counts.
More money: Tulsa's sales-tax revenue check for November was 8.95 percent, up from the same month last year, new reports show.
The Oklahoma Tax Commission has remitted $18,426,570 to the city for the month, compared with $16,912,266 in November 2011.
The money was collected between Sept. 16 and Oct. 15.
A portion of the revenue is due to the city's sales-tax rate increasing from 3 cents to 3.167 cents on Oct. 1, 2011, to help pay for the Fix Our Streets program.
With the city's December check, that rate change will no longer be a factor because it will have been in effect for a full year.
Tulsa's fiscal year budget is based on achieving an overall 3.7 percent growth over the course of 12 months, from July 1 until June 30.
Sprouting up: The city of Tulsa is a step closer to getting its first Sprouts Farmers Market specialty grocery store.
The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission voted Wednesday to recommend approval of an amended PUD - or planned unit development - for the project, which is to be constructed on the southeast corner of 41st Street and Harvard Avenue, should it be approved by the City Council.
The applicant, Armstrong Development Properties Inc. of Chandler, Ariz., was making its second appearance before the Planning Commission to seek approval of the amended PUD. The case was continued three weeks ago to give the developer a chance to modify its plans after a long meeting in which several people expressed concern about the project.
Those concerns included the size of the Sprouts store, the materials to be used in its construction, the building's height and its proximity to the surrounding neighborhood.
Another major sticking point was the developer's request to include a separate fast-food restaurant with a drive-through window on the property.
Armstrong's attorney, Lou Reynolds, told commissioners Wednesday that his client had made several changes to the plan to make it more palatable to neighborhood residents.
The changes include decreasing the height of parts of the grocery store, increasing its setback to 155 feet from the nearest home, adding landscaping and not having any signs on the south side of the building. Sprouts also agreed to have the entire facade of the building constructed in brick.
No moratorium: City Councilor Jeannie Cue will not seek a moratorium on new multifamily developments in a section of west Tulsa after hearing Wednesday night from a roomful of constituents who said they're ready, instead, to go directly to the City Council to oppose the area's latest apartment complex proposal.
The 595-unit complex, called the Greens at Page Belcher, would be constructed on 38 acres near the northeast corner of Union Avenue and 71st Street.
Cue, who represents District 2, called the meeting after hearing from several people who said they were concerned about the crime, traffic and stress on infrastructure created by the growing number of apartment complexes in the area.
Cue told her fellow councilors last week that she was considering seeking a moratorium on new multifamily developments in the 6-square-mile area covered by the city's West Highlands/Tulsa Hills small-area plan.
The moratorium would have stayed in effect until June or July, when the small-area plan is scheduled to be complete. In the meantime, westside residents, developers and interested parties could have come together to help create the plan and address the growing concerns about multifamily developments, Cue told councilors then.
But on Wednesday, she told those gathered at the library that some of her fellow councilors have expressed concern about imposing a moratorium and instead want to hear directly from residents who are opposed to the current apartment proposal.
Bus system: Tulsa Transit presented three scenarios to the City Council on Thursday that would cut the bus system roughly 40 percent in order to reduce the average weekday wait time from 52 minutes to 30 minutes.
The first scenario is based on ridership and would eliminate nine of the 17 routes and 106 of the 250 route miles, while the second is based on productivity and would eliminate six routes and 98 route miles.
The third scenario would eliminate a total of 99 route miles on all of the existing routes, but two routes still would be cut because there wouldn't be enough buses to go around.
"All three of these put an emphasis on frequency over coverage," Tulsa Transit General Manager Bill Cartwright said during the council's committee meetings.
Councilors had asked Tulsa Transit and Indian Nations Council of Governments officials to prepare such a plan for study in an effort to make the system more efficient at the current funding level.
They will discuss the results at a future meeting.
Route 66: Leaders dedicated the new "East Meets West" bronze statue Friday at the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Centennial Plaza.
The 20,000-pound bronze sculpture, 135 percent of actual size, puts the finishing touch on the landmark plaza, built in 2008.
A memorial to Cyrus Avery, "Father of Route 66," the artwork is 40 feet long, 15 feet wide and 14 feet high. The $1,177,841 sculpture was designed by Texas artist Robert Summers and funded through Vision 2025.
"East Meets West" tells the story of an encounter between the Avery family riding in a vintage 1926 Model-T Ford and a horse-drawn wagon coming from the west Tulsa oil fields.
New park: A lot of work is being done to construct the Gathering Place for Tulsa - the $100 million to $150 million park planned for the east side of Riverside Drive. It's just not work most people will ever know occurred.
"We have spent the last 4 1/2 months working on all sorts of details," said Jeff Stava, project manager for the park, which is being funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.
The foundation plans to present its latest design for the park to the public the first week of December, with construction to begin in the first half of 2014.
The foundation held several public meetings earlier this year to gather input on the project, and has spent the time since taking those comments into account as it finalizes plans for the park.
To construct the park, the foundation plans to transform land it owns east of Riverside Drive, including a small tract of city property, into a unique gathering place that ties into River Parks.
Conceptual plans for the park include wooded areas, cascading lawns, meandering trails, a lodge building, gardens, a large playground, a splash park, wetlands, cafes and a large pond.
In addition to working on modifications to the park proposal, foundation officials have spent the past few months meeting with utility providers and public entities to ensure that the park's infrastructure needs - including electric power, water lines and roadways - are addressed.
Beautification program: The city of Tulsa is kicking off its new Adopt-a-Spot program.
"People are always asking, 'How can I get involved in something? How can I help my city?' Well, here you go," said City Councilor Karen Gilbert, who initiated the program. "We (the city) can't do it all, so this is just that way of getting help."
Adopt-a-Spot is open to individuals, neighborhood associations, church groups - anyone who wants to help Tulsa become America's most beautiful city, Gilbert said.
Beautifying the city is one of the shared goals of the City Council and the Mayor's Office.
The Adopt-a-Spot program works like this: Individuals and groups interested in taking care of a public space - whether it be a park, a median or a right of way - can call the city's Customer Service Center or go online to complete an application.
Applicants may apply to adopt up to three areas and must commit to one, three or five years of service.
Once the application is approved, the person or group will be contacted by the city to arrange training as needed.
The city will provide a certificate of adoption as well as supplies, such as trash bags, gloves and vests.
Adopt-a-Spot participants also will receive promotional T-shirts and be recognized on the city's website.
For more information about the city of Tulsa's Adopt-a-Spot program and to download an application, go to tulsaworld.com/cleancity or call the city's Customer Care Center at 918-596-2100.
Tulsa City Hall and local, state and federal government offices will be closed Monday for Veterans Day.
Area residents, property owners and other stakeholders of the Eugene Field Neighborhood in Tulsa are invited to a 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday meeting in the Eugene Field Elementary School Cafeteria, 2249 S. Phoenix Ave.
The meeting is to discuss future development in an area bounded by Southwest Boulevard on the west, the Arkansas River on the north and east, and West 25th Street on the south. Food and childcare will be provided.
The public is invited to a 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday meeting to comment and ask questions about the city's application for a Brownfields Clean-Up Grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for the Evans-Fintube site located at 150 and 186 North Lansing Ave.
The meeting will be in the North Conference Room on the 10th Floor of City Hall, 175 E. Second St.
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