River Parks, Tulsa Zoo, city parks could get piece of proposed capital improvements package
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Saturday, February 23, 2013
2/23/13 at 6:10 AM
Learn more: Read previous stories about
what would be the largest capital improvements package in Tulsa history.
City officials are considering as much as $192.8 million in park and Tulsa Zoo projects for the estimated $800 million capital improvements package that is likely headed to voters in November.
The proposals, presented to the City Council this week, break down to $109.3 million for the River Parks Authority - including a $41 million Zink Dam renovation that was also proposed in the failed Vision2 initiative - $43.5 million for the zoo and $40 million for the Park and Recreation Department.
The money would come from renewing the funding sources behind the 2008 Fix Our Streets initiative, whose five-year run will end in fiscal year 2014.
The initiative's next rendition is intended to address part of the city's $1.4 billion in identified capital needs through fiscal year 2019, including as much as $670 million for streets.
City officials are gathering project proposals in anticipation of a series of town hall meetings in March and April.
The recreation-related proposals, like the others presented so far, would address bread-and-butter needs such as renovations and infrastructure improvements, park and zoo leaders told the council.
River Parks Authority Executive Director Matt Meyer told the council that his group is hoping for at least $68.3 million for a host of projects, including new "adventure" elements for the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, such as climbing rocks and zip lines.
That funding would also go toward replacing railing and windbreaks on the Pedestrian Bridge over the Arkansas River - and possibly adding an upper deck - replacing sewer and waterlines, improving trails, restroom buildings, fencing, lighting, electrical systems, parking lots and erosion control along the river.
Meyer said he wants the Zink Dam renovation to be viewed as separate from the other proposals, but he added that without improvements, the dam will eventually fail to hold water.
The county's Vision2 initiative also included $41 million for the renovation but was voted down Nov. 6.
Two weeks later, the state Supreme Court ruled that a planned $25 million bond issue to improve the Zink Lake dam on the Arkansas River was unconstitutional.
"We didn't put that as our No. 1 priority, or No. 7 or No. 12," Meyer said. "We put it out there for you elected officials to know about and consider."
The River Parks Authority is also working with the city to raise $1 million for temporary improvements to the dam.
Tulsa Zoo CEO Terrie Correll told the council that the zoo will need $154 million to complete its 20-year master plan, but she said much of that will come from private sources.
The zoo requests $48 million from the city to help it "front load" the plan, keep several exhibits above accreditation standards and encourage donations by showing donors that the city supports its zoo, she said.
The zoo was transferred to private management two years ago but remains in a public-private partnership with the city, so public funds remain vital, Correll said.
Vision2 included $20 million for the zoo.
Park and Recreation
The city's Park and Recreation Department has requested funds for various projects at 37 parks, including new playgrounds at 23 parks and pool and tennis court rehabilitations at five parks each.
The most money would go to:
- Lacy Park: $6.35 million for a 60-space parking lot, signs, restrooms, pavilion, a "water playground" and regular playground and pool rehabilitation.
- Whiteside Park: $5.25 million for a weight and multipurpose room, tennis and pool rehabilitations, and security upgrades.
- Woodward Park: $4.85 million for "extensive landscaping," regrading slopes, repairing limestone walls, and renovating the stream and pond.
Town hall meetings
March 4: District 4, Tulsa Community College Metro Campus Center for Creativity, 910 S. Boston Ave.
March 11: District 6, Martin Regional Library auditorium, 2601 S. Garnett Road
March 12: District 8, Fellowship Bible Church chapel, 5434 E. 91st St.
March 25: District 1, Booker T. Washington High School auditorium, 1514 E. Zion St.
March 26: District 2, Webster High School auditorium, 1919 W. 40th St.
April 2: District 9, Whiteside Community Center, 4009 S. Pittsburg Ave.
April 22: District 7, Hardesty Library, Frossard Auditorium, 8316 E. 93rd St.
April 29: District 5, Hale Jr. High School auditorium, 2177 S. 67th East Ave.
April 30: District 3, Hamilton Elementary School auditorium, 2316 N. Norwood Place
Original Print Headline: City considering funding for parks, zoo upgrades
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486