Aerial

A aerial view of Greenwood area shows the Greenwood Cultural Center, ONEOK Field and the Tulsa skyline on May 24, 2019. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World

To tell the story of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, investments must be made in its cultural center and surrounding landmarks.

This year, the 1921 Race Massacre Centennial Commission set a $25 million fundraising goal to create a world-class, interactive experience. This includes fixing existing problems and adding educational attractions.

Plans are underway to include various voices in projects to mark the 100th year of the tragic event. More is needed to ensure facilities are ready for the commemoration.

Renovations to the Greenwood Cultural Center are among the projects in the $639 million Improve Our Tulsa tax renewal package, which goes before voters on Nov. 12.

About 67% of the proposal would be used for transportation, mostly streets and bridges. The remaining amount would be used for quality-of-life improvements and a small emergency reserve fund for the city.

No tax rates would increase if the package is approved.

If approved by voters, the Greenwood Cultural Center would receive $5.34 million for repairs and updates.

Led by former Rep. Don Ross, the cultural center was dedicated in October 1995 after a private fundraising campaign. It has expanded since then through public and private funding.

The center serves as a hub for the preservation of black heritage and promotion of education and culture. It has partnerships with other Greenwood District organizations and member of the Arts Alliance.

It offers a young entrepreneurs program, a leadership program for girls and a Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools program.

Often, the center is host to events aspiring to connect Tulsans through conversations around race.

The cultural center plays a crucial role in the city’s ongoing efforts in reconciliation and progress in bridging our differences.

The center exists as a nonprofit to continue its mission, but the city has an ongoing responsibility there.

The Greenwood Cultural Center has an obvious place in the Improve Our Tulsa renewal package, and we support it.


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