The city of Tulsa will present a draft proposal of the Arena District Master Plan at its third and final visioning workshop Wednesday.
The event is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. at the Tulsa Central Library’s Pocahontas Greadington Learning and Creativity Center, 400 Civic Center.
Nick Doctor, chief of community development and policy for the city, said the draft plan reflects the public input the city received at its first two public workshops.
“The public comments led to exactly what this plan calls for: a vibrant, 18-hour neighborhood with a mix of residents, entertainment venues and services that build upon and contribute to an excellent experience for visitors to our iconic venues: BOK Center and Cox Business Center,” Doctor said.
The draft version of the plan includes short-, intermediate- and long-term recommendations for implementing the proposal. It also lists 10 public projects totaling approximately $100 million the city should consider undertaking to achieve its goals for the district.
The projects include adding amenities to encourage pedestrian traffic and development of retail businesses along Denver and Boulder avenues; constructing a welcoming linear park along Civic Center Drive outside of Cox Business Center’s new east entrance; and the reconstruction of the Plazas of the Americas.
Possible funding sources for the public projects include, but are not limited to, a Tax Increment Financing District; Tulsa Stadium Improvement District assessments; and a municipal bond package akin to Improve Our Tulsa or Vision 2025.
The draft plan also suggests transforming the Page Belcher Federal Building block into a mixed-use center, constructing a full-service hotel on the existing Municipal Courts Building site, and improving the downtown transit station property so that it integrates better into the district.
The 30-block Arena District is bounded by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad to the north and west, Boulder Avenue to the east, and 11th Street to the south.
The city late last year hired MKSK, a Columbus, Ohio-based landscape architecture, planning and urban design company, to create a master plan for the area around the BOK Center and Cox Business Center.
The hope was to come up with a plan to transform the district into a destination that would attract residential and retail development and to seamlessly connect it to existing, vibrant downtown areas like the Tulsa Arts and Blue Dome districts.
The BOK Center and Cox Business Center are surrounded by the Tulsa County Courthouse, the Page Belcher Federal Building and other government buildings. This has left concert-goers or convention guests with few entertainment and dining options after a concert or convention is over.
The district’s lack of a large downtown hotel, meanwhile, has cost Tulsa convention business, city officials contend.
The city plans to have the Arena District Master Plan finalized in the next few weeks. It will then be sent to the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and to the City Council for approval as part of the city’s comprehensive development plan.
But first, city officials want to hear what the public thinks of the draft plan.
“We’re looking for the public’s feedback on the complete plan — what they like, and what blind spots we may have missed,” Doctor said.
For more information about the Arena District Master Plan, go to cityoftulsa.org/arenadistrict.