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Tulsa Mayoral Candidates On How To Keep Re-Development Up Downtown

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Candidates Kathy Taylor, Dewey Bartlett and Bill Christiansen. Candidates Kathy Taylor, Dewey Bartlett and Bill Christiansen.
The crowds of people downtown are a recent phenomenon, and the result of several big improvements to the downtown area over the last five to 10 years. The crowds of people downtown are a recent phenomenon, and the result of several big improvements to the downtown area over the last five to 10 years.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsans will vote for mayor next Tuesday and the top three candidates all have political experience at City Hall.

There's a former city councilor, the current and a former mayor, all of whom claim some credit for downtown re-development.

The sudden success of businesses and new people living downtown has the candidates for mayor talking about how to keep it going, and how to duplicate it.

The crowds of people downtown are a recent phenomenon, and the result of several big improvements to the downtown area over the last five to 10 years.

6/5/2013 Related Story: Top Candidates For Tulsa Mayor Lay Out Plans For Police, Fire Departments

Bill Christiansen and Dewey Bartlett both credit tax deferments for some of the success.

Says Christiansen, "So, I think just continuing what we're doing there is good and we've made great leaps and bounds, and I was on the Vision 2025 leadership team when that all started 12-13 years ago. And look at the end results: we've got the BOK Center, the ballpark and the Brady District is filling in, so I think continuing with the incentives - that are not giveaways, it's a TIFF, it's a tax deferment - it's a good thing."

Bartlett suggests changing the now small tax deferment districts to improve the rest of downtown.

"In my opinion, we need a TIFF that covers the entirety of the downtown area, so whatever good activity will occur in one part of the downtown area, will help benefit the entirety of downtown, which is a very large area," Bartlett said.

Bartlett and Kathy Taylor both mentioned how the successful focus on downtown should be expanded to other parts of the city, where Taylor says government can plant more seeds of development as it did downtown.

"I think continuing to make that the safe environment that it is, and continuing to support traffic and people coming downtown, the rest will do itself, but I think we need to take that magic, that collaborative approach that was so successful downtown and take it to other areas of the city," Taylor said.

Early voting starts Friday for the city election, which is set for Tuesday.

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