City Council Votes In Favor Of Controversial Sale Of Helmerich Park
TULSA, Oklahoma - One councilor called it "shameful," others called it good for Tulsa's economy.
Wednesday, the City Council voted in favor of abandoning a portion of Helmerich Park, allowing it to be sold to a developer.
The vote was right down the middle, with Councilor Anna America being the tie-breaker - voting in favor of the development.
The vote came after listening to two hours of public comment, most of it was against allowing the sale.
While controversial, both sides agreed Mayor GT Bynum's proposal is an improvement over the last administration's plan.
It says nearly nine acres of the 65-acre park will be sold to a Texas developer who wants to build an REI store, which sells outdoor recreation equipment.
The land will be sold for $1.5 million, which several councilors said was way too cheap.
The money will go back to the rest of the park, and will go toward building new volleyball courts.
At the meeting, 29 people spoke against the proposal while 11 spoke up for it.
Development Opponent Frank Gaddy said, "As people say all the time, they're not making any more land, so therefore, there's no new parks."
"The courts now really aren't in the best of conditions. We could play volleyball anywhere, we do want to stay on the river, that is important. But I believe this will bring that retail – city world into the outdoor area, and I think it will really enhance the area," supporter Katy Battieste said.
The City Council also approved giving the developer another half-million dollars to install infrastructure in the area.