Tulsa Councilor Hopes 'Good Looks' Will Be Part Of Road Construc - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tulsa Councilor Hopes 'Good Looks' Will Be Part Of Road Construction

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The city already spends money on art but it's usually one time only things, like the projects along Route 66. The city already spends money on art but it's usually one time only things, like the projects along Route 66.
Tulsa City Councilor, Phil Lakin, wants beautification to be part of every road construction project. Tulsa City Councilor, Phil Lakin, wants beautification to be part of every road construction project.
When the state rebuilt the last sections of I-44, private donors paid for enhancements to make it look better, and there's more to come. When the state rebuilt the last sections of I-44, private donors paid for enhancements to make it look better, and there's more to come.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Tulsa city councilor wants beautification to be part of every road construction project. That could mean spending part of the money for new roads on landscaping or better looking concrete walls.

The city already spends money on art but it's usually one time only things, like the projects along Route 66, otherwise the city builds roads without much concern about looks, or even maintenance, but a city councilor wants to see if that can change.

Tulsa has spectacular examples of public art - like the Meadow Gold sign along Route 66 - and then there's Cyrus Avery Plaza that dresses up one part of the river.

One city councilor thinks improving the looks of Tulsa could be much simpler, things like just mowing the grass.

"If we don't have a dedicated funding source for that we'll continue to take the easy way out whenever we're doing budgets, and we'll make the easy cuts like cutting the mowing cycles from 12 to ten or ten to eight, but then we have to live with that decision and we're living with that decision right now,” said Tulsa City Councilor, Phil Lakin.

When the state rebuilt the last sections of I-44, private donors paid for enhancements to make it look better, and there's more to come.

Sign posts and traffic signals were painted black, the retaining walls were upgraded and thousands of trees are coming soon.

Big art deco towers were rolled into the project at state expense, and according to ODOT, they've been well received.

The city's Chief Construction Engineer, Paul Zachary, likes making things look better but is concerned about locking in aesthetics on every project.

"To lock to one percent or a certain percentage would probably be way too much, or not enough in some cases, to make a difference,” said Zachary.

The city buys art now because of the one percent rule that applies only to new building projects, but once the city buys it there's no dedicated money to maintain it.

That's another problem, maintenance of things like statues and artwork gets the same attention in the budget as potholes and high grass.

"The city does a pretty bad job of maintaining what we put in," Lakin said.

The council is just starting that discussion and hasn't decided on any percentage or how to do it, but the other councilors seemed receptive to spending more to make the city look better. 

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