City Wins Right To Sell Helmerich Park Site

Thursday, April 19th 2018, 12:47 pm

There have been new developments in a lawsuit over Helmerich Park being sold to a developer.

A judge ruled Thursday the city could sell it, but there could still be another appeal.

The work going on there now is to build new volleyball courts, but the bulldozers could be coming soon for the corner of 71st and Riverside.
The little corner generated years of litigation that may not be over.

The city sold it to a shopping center developer but a lawsuit blocked the transaction.

"What right does this city [have] to give away at any price, property that was paid for [by] tax money, taxes asked for to pay for park land and private donations were given for park land,” said park supporter Herb Beattie. 

Beattie and his lawyer Greg Bledsoe said the judgment doesn't mean the deal is done. 

“Fundamental in this case is whether a city can just declare a park abandoned and sell it. We don't think they can. That's one of the major issues that will be on appeal,” said Bledsoe. 

The city plans to clear the volleyball courts that have been used for years on the property.

New ones are under construction inside the clear boundaries of the park.

The city all along claimed the land that was sold was outside what's really Helmerich park.

"This is a bad precedent for the City of Tulsa, and I'm really surprised that Mayor Bynum has not killed this bad deal," Beattie said. 

But the Mayor said he's pleased with the decision.

"My chief concern every step of the way has been that we are doing the right thing," said Bynum. "Should (the plaintiffs) appeal, as they have indicated they will, I respect that decision and we will proceed accordingly."

The developer, who planned a shopping center with a sporting goods store as the anchor, hasn't said if he will go ahead now or wait for that potential next step in the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs believe the possibility of an appeal will hold up the project.