The Downtown Coordinating Council is looking to up its game.
Brian Kurtz, the organization’s executive director, informed city councilors Wednesday that the city plans to hire a consultant to help engage the public as the city examines the possibility of transforming DCC into a private, nonprofit entity. A request for proposals was issued earlier this month, and respondents have until June 19 to submit their proposals.
“When you take a look at urban place management and downtown management organizations across the country, almost all of them are going to be a separate, nonprofit organization — or some sort of separate organization that is responsible for that management,” Kurtz told councilors.
The Downtown Coordinating Council was established a decade ago to assist with maintenance, beautification and public safety in the Tulsa Stadium Improvement District. Historically, it has dealt with such things as trash removal, light landscaping, and the management of its Public Safety Ambassadors program.
The role and structure of the new organization will be informed by the public and its vision for what downtown should become, Kurtz told councilors.
The consultant will work with the city to come up with a public-engagement process “to understand our goals, our vision for the next five to 10 years, and then use that to formulate the kind of structure that we need to manage downtown going forward,” Kurtz said. “
The hope, he added, is to come up with a plan that takes DCC beyond the cleaning and public safety function it provides today to one that works to activate and revitalize all public spaces downtown.
“Becoming independent and stand-alone provides more flexibility in the work we can undertake to create that vibrant downtown,” Kurtz said after the council meeting. “It provides the ability to leverage our improvement district dollars that we receive each year and raise additional dollars from private sources, whether it is a foundation or a corporate entity.”
The Downtown Coordinating Council’s 2019 fiscal year budget, which ends June 30, is $1.2 million, Kurtz said, all of which is funded through the Tulsa Stadium Improvement District assessment.
Chris Bumgarner, vice chairman of DCC, said the overarching purpose of the organization would not change if it were to become a private entity.
“The goal is to have more flexibility, more autonomy, and yet still work hand in hand with the city to encourage more people to live and work and play downtown,” Bumgarner said.
Kurtz said it will be important for Tulsans in all areas of the city to participate in the development of the new organization.
“Whether they live in downtown, work in downtown, have been downtown one time a year to go to a BOK event, we want to know what all Tulsans want their downtown to be,” Kurtz said.
Chief Photographer Tom Gilbert went up in a helicopter to show what the flooding looked like on Wednesday afternoon on May 22.