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KOTV - 9/16/2007 9:46 PM - Updated 9/19/2007 6:16 PM

More People Getting Behind River Tax Plan

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Bixby is trying to show off the success supporters say a river tax could bring. The News On 6's Joshua Brakhage reports it's quite a turnaround for a community that at first wasn't on board with the proposed tax hike.

"We have an opportunity on October 9th to take a giant leap forward for this entire region," said Kaiser Family Foundation Executive Director Ken Levit.

Supporters of the proposed river tax point to Bixby's Bentley Park as a promise of that progress.

"It's gonna be better than the other parks because they're old and they're not very good anymore," 6th grader Madison Curley said.

"My brother plays baseball, and it'll be a lot funner to come here to watch him," said 6th grader Kaitlyn Tucker.

The ball fields were nothing but overgrown brush until a few months ago. Now they represent the "Field of Dreams" supporters say a river tax would mean. Build it, and they will come.

"People are gonna have to buy gas, they're gonna have to stay in hotels, they're gonna have to buy products which is gonna increase sales tax revenues. It's gonna be fantastic," Bixby Mayor Ray Bowen said.

River tax funding would be crucial for phase two of the park, $3.5 million promised to Bixby would add eight more ball fields, 12 soccer fields and a water park.

Bixby was originally left out of the river project plans, but fought to be included. Still, they say the river tax will be a home run for the entire county.

"You know, nothing in this world's free, and for the 4/10ths of that penny that they're going to spend on this vote, for the potential and for the gain that we're gonna gain," said Tim Remy, Remy Companies President.

Tim Remy is a private developer who plans to start construction on a $50 million riverside development in Bixby. He wants Tulsa County residents to literally buy into his vision for the future with their tax dollars.

Meanwhile, river tax supporters are using the next generation to sell their vision. Sixth grader Madison Curley says the river's not really on her radar.

"We drive past it on our way to school every day so we kinda see it all the time, but we don't ever really go down there, because there's not anything to do," she said.

The hardest sell river development will be the 85,000 voters in outlying communities who may not see a direct benefit from the improvements, compare that to only 29,000 in riverside suburbs.

Bixby already has one of the highest tax rates in the county, but supporters say the city's 10,000 votes are crucial come October 9th.

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