Tulsa's neighbors are weighing the benefits of a development plan on the Arkansas River against the county-wide tax that comes along with it. News On 6 anchor Terry Hood reports suburbs from Sand Springs to Bixby will see development dreams come true, but others are left out.
"We've got a slogan for it, called the banana bridge," Bixby Mayor Jerry Bowen said.
Bixby Mayor Jerry Bowen says the bridge over the Arkansas River can be more than a punch line. He says it can be the link to new river development.
"It's a huge asset that we've never used and we have a lot of developable land in Bixby along the river," said Bowen.
Ball fields at Bixby's Bentley Park Sports Complex are currently under construction. If Tulsa County voters approve a river tax, the complex would expand to the river's edge. Bowen says the tax is a hard sell if each community doesn't feel like it's benefiting.
"With it starting up in Sand Springs, moving into Tulsa, down to Jenks, down to Bixby, and then, you know, it just makes all your river development people be a part of the plan," Mayor Bowen said.
Noticeably missing from Bowen's list: Broken Arrow. INCOG's master plan calls for an indoor soccer complex and a riverfront boardwalk, but the city says it's heard any development would be six to seven years away. A city spokesman said he believed all of Broken Arrow's riverfront property was in a flood plain, making river development unlikely.
"There's plenty of room for lots of development along the river. I'm a huge supporter of the river," said Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland.
Mayor Vic Vreeland has Jenks ahead of the game, but he says new development will only attract more people to riverside attractions.
Owasso doesn't have any riverfront property, but Mayor Steven Cataudella says his community's sold.
"The city of Tulsa is obviously the hub of our whole county. Without the success of Tulsa the rest of the communities are not going to survive," Owasso Mayor Steven Cataudella said.
Bixby's mayor says development is all but a done deal, and says things could start to take shape as soon as September.
"They're gonna see some retail shopping, some nice restaurants, a gathering place, which will be really important for people to come to," said Bowen.
Bixby wasn't part of the initial river plan, but city leaders fought to be included. The city would get more than $7 million for its bridge and ball fields. Bixby's Mayor says developers have already invested $50 million to start building a riverside shopping and entertainment center.