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Tulsa Parks To Get 3rd Penny Money

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In less than a week, city of Tulsa voters will make the decision on extending the 3rd penny sales tax.

The package has substantial money for city parks, that for the most part will renovate what's already built - and in one case, expand a park that's been getting smaller over the last few years.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says on a sunny day, the Kendall Whittier Park draws people from the neighborhood and beyond, even students from the elementary school and TU cross paths. Student: "Yeah, this is a nice place; we like coming here and a lot of people come out here."

The park is newer than most, but needs maintenance that isn't in the regular city budget. The playground needs more cushioning - the typical work done with money from the third penny. Greg Warren with Tulsa Parks: "whether it's a new playground, or repairing a playground, or new heating and air, it’s spread around the city."

Kendall Whittier is the only park that would expand, by about 10 acres, covering most of three city blocks just west of Kendall Whittier Elementary School. The park at Kendall Whittier has been moved around and whittled down over the years.

The new park land will be on the far side of the school, crossing a street, making the park much bigger. Neighborhood Association president Maria Barnes: "This is a neighborhood that uses a park, it was always in use."

Over the years, development displaced the park. The new Edu-Care building took up part of it, but it would be more than replaced with $5-million from the third penny. The money would buy out some apartments that the neighborhood blames for crime and blight. Maria Barnes: "And it hasn't gotten better, you would think with the school here and everything it would improve, but it hasn't and it's not going to."

The third penny vote is to spend $463-million on all sorts of projects, including substantial repairs for parks and pools. Last year, 4 pools opened, this year nine of them will, but the city has others that can't open because they need repairs.

The vote is next Tuesday.
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