On October 9, 2007, Tulsa County voters head to the polls to cast their ballots for developments along the Arkansas River. If voters approve the river sales tax, private donors, including QuikTrip, have agreed to spend millions of dollars to build river projects. The QuikTrip plan is for a major public park at 41st and Riverside. There is already a park at the location, but the QuikTrip plan would make it much larger and nicer. The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports QT hopes to get started on their river plan right after the vote.
The employee break room at QuikTrip headquarters is papered with pictures. Company spokesman Mike Thornbrugh says it's what the convenience store chain wants to build at the River Parks, as a gift to Tulsa, if voters approve the river development sales tax.
"We think it's a wonderful idea," said QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh. "It's up to the voters and we just hope it passes."
The idea is to build a new, larger playground with fountains, a manmade stream and a deck looking out over the river at 41st Street. The area is currently a wide spot on the trail, with a good, but small playground, and a view of the river that overlooks a large drain pipe. QuikTrip, working with other private donors, wants to replace all of it, including the outdated bathrooms.
"That's all going to be cleaned up and made attractive, where you'll want to go out there and take your kids out there," Thornbrugh said.
QuikTrip is willing to pay for work that would mainly be focused down at 41st and Riverside, but their more than $5 million contribution would pay for improvements all the way up to 31st Street.
Teri Lowe is a River Parks user who is looking forward to some changes.
"I think it will be good, it will be very good for Tulsa, a lot of people use this and this will attract even more people," said River Parks user Teri Lowe.
Other donors will pay for some elements within the mile that QuikTrip is planning; one concept includes a bridge over Crow Creek, and the widening of the trail.
QT says if the sales tax passes, they can turn their artist renderings into reality, possibly within one year.
"And again, if it passes you're going to see almost immediate work, things going up," said Thornbrugh.
One of the biggest changes at the site would be the introduction of a manmade stream, flowing with fresh water where children could play.
QuikTrip says they would get moving on the project quickly, because next September is the company's 50th anniversary and they would like to have as much of it done as possible.