The City of Tulsa missed several opportunities to lure the Drillers downtown, but the economic development director says heâ€™s not planning to lose this one. According to the city, the Drillers met Tuesday to talk about a downtown Tulsa location. The News On 6â€™s Emory Bryan reports the city says it's at the same place with the Drillers as the developer in Jenks, and the only difference is that Tulsa doesn't have it in writing.
Don Himelfarb has been negotiating a deal between the city and the Drillers and he says his orders haven't changed.
â€œThe mayor has said to me that we should leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Drillers stay in the city of Tulsa, and that more importantly we locate them within the IDL, downtown,â€ Economic Development Director Don Himelfarb said.
If he fails it wouldn't be the first time the Drillers almost moved downtown. In 1997, a model was created for a sales tax vote called The Tulsa Project. The stadium was never built because voters rejected the tax. Last year, a developer's map showed a baseball stadium downtown in a project called The East End. The stadium would have been built east of 4th and Frankfort, but the deal fell through and a new developer bought the land for, among other things, a Wal-Mart Super Center.
As recently as July, the Drillers were still publicly talking about moving downtown. Himelfarb says privately the Drillers are still talking.
"The Drillers know the sites we're looking at, they have a preferred site and we agree with them on that location and should we be able, when we strike a deal with them, it will be announced," Himelfarb said.
Sources at the city say the spots under consideration are the Evans Machine Works land just east of OSU-Tulsa. It's available, is on high ground, and has a good view of downtown, the same view as another possible site just inside the IDL at 2nd and Greenwood.
Himelfarb told The News On 6 the Westside, along the river, is not out of the question, but poses significant challenges with highway access and environmental concerns.
The bottom line, according to the City of Tulsa, is the deal in Jenks isn't final, the Drillers are still talking and there's a chance they will move to a downtown Tulsa stadium.
Watch the video: Idea To Move Drillers Not A New One
WEB EXTRA: Extended Interview With Don Himelfarb, Tulsa Economic Development Director
8/20/2007 - The Jenks Drillers?
8/21/2007 Jenks Trying To Lure The Drillers From Tulsa
8/21/2007 Fans React To Possible Drillers Move