RiverParks Gets Loan To Buy More Land For Turkey Mountain Park
TULSA, Oklahoma - A deal to sell land near the Turkey Mountain urban wilderness fell through, but there's a new deal in the works.
Instead of an outlet mall, this deal would preserve the land for RiverParks.
It's a significant deal, announced with donors from QuikTrip and the George Kaiser Foundation putting up money to buy land now to keep it wilderness instead of potentially being sold to a developer.
The expanse of Turkey Mountain is vast, but much of the land used for wilderness isn't actually owned by RiverParks - some land is privately owned and up for sale.
RiverParks wouldn't say if the land they're trying to buy is the section once considered for an outlet mall, just that's it's about 150 acres they can buy now and preserve forever.
Executive Director of RiverParks, Matt Meyer, said, "The land is available now, so there are discussions now. The important thing to remember is that both QuikTrip and the Kaiser Foundation recognize the importance of Turkey Mountain to the quality of life in Tulsa, and they are seeking to preserve some parkland there."
The deal is technically a loan, but without any obligation for RiverParks to pay it back - unless they get money through the Vision program.
The news of philanthropists stepping up to preserve the open space was welcomed news on the mountain.
Trail user Amber Evans said, “It's perfect, I'm glad. It's great to have something like this in the Tulsa area, and we don't have to wonder if we can come out here and hike with our babies. It's going to be here and be preserved. It's great.”
Except for a few basic services, the site is largely undeveloped. If RiverParks is able to close the deal to buy more land, it would ensure any development would meet their guidelines.
"New York City has Central Park, we have Turkey Mountain, which is a great thing, a really great thing," said trail user Doug Ray.
So, while the land has not traded hands, RiverParks is confident they can buy it. The donors have pledged up to $5.6 million to make the deal happen.