Supporters of trails near Turkey Mountain are trying to stop plans for an outlet mall that may take them away. They're hoping an online petition can bring the attention to city leaders about keeping the trails open.
Sunday morning Turkey Mountain trails were busy with runners and bike riders for the Turkey Trooper Super Duathlon; just one of the many races that keeps the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area busy.
Competitors had to trail-run three miles, mountain bike 12 miles and then finish the race running three more miles.
Some of those trails being used cut through private land are where developers plan to build and outlet mall at 61st and Highway 75. However, property records show the land is currently zoned for agricultural use.
8/20/2014 Related Story: Proposed Outlet Mall Would Close Some Turkey Mountain Trails
"It's happened before you know, where we've been threatened and we've been successful, so hopefully this time we will be," said Turkey Mountain supporter, Dave Ridilla.
Ridilla and friends keep the trail network maintained and support events like Sunday's duathlon.
Even though the proposed development is on private land, Ridilla is worried about the growth that comes with an outlet mall.
?8/22/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Bikers, Hikers Concerned Over Proposed Outlet Mall Placement
"I think it's a domino, and once the first domino falls the rest could possibly follow, and once it's gone and paved it will never come back," Ridilla said.
One mountain biker doesn't think the retail stores will be an issue to riders, but is worried about them being so close to a wilderness area.
"I was a little concerned it was going to take up some of the trails, but then I saw the map where they were showing what they were going to be taking up, it seemed to be a small portion, so I wasn't too concerned," he said.
Mountain biker, Heidi Lebowski hopes something could be worked out to save the trails.
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“It's just a great community and we just want to be respectful about it, but just say, 'hey, try something else,'" she said.
Lebowski and Ridilla believe Turkey Mountain and the surrounding trail network is a gem for the city.
"So it's disappointing to say that places that you know and go that are nature so close to the city are being taken over," Lebowski said.
Ridilla said, "We just want to see it preserved, it's important green space, and even though that piece probably isn't all that - doesn't have all that much trails on it - it's still a border for The Y. This is a valuable resource as well.”
The Turkey Mountain development issue is expected to be a topic at Monday night's city council district 2 town hall meeting being held at 6:00 at the Zarrow Library on West 51st Street.