Tulsa's Brady District Tax Reaches Successful End

Wednesday, June 21st 2017, 6:15 pm

Tulsa taxpayers poured millions into a development fund that city officials now think has reached a successful end.

The city started using sales tax from the Brady District purely to spruce up public spaces in the Brady District, and it's helped the area flourish. For years now, sales tax from the Brady District has been spent here to improve sidewalks and add trees. The result is one part of what's transformed the area is a draw for tourists and Tulsans alike.

Food truck Wednesday brings a crowd to Guthrie Green, but it's just one of the attractions that made the Brady Arts District a place worth visiting.

Now, there's often a crowd day and night for festivals, art exhibits and restaurants.

The public spaces are better than typical downtown, with more expensive lighting and brick sidewalks paid for with about $5 million in tax money collected and spent so far in the Brady District.

"It's worked tremendously well and it's to the benefit of the neighborhood and the city," said Tax District Treasurer Marvin Shirley.

Shirley helps administer the tax district that pays for improvements.

"That changes the climate, the atmosphere of the area," Shirley said. 

The tax district started in 1993, but it took years to collect enough to do anything.

Now the Brady is busy and the tax district is ending with enough money to keep building.

"The idea has always been to connect ONEOK field with the BOK Center," said Brady business owner Bob Fleischman. 

Fleischman, who owns Chrysalis Salon, said he's eager to see the improvements, like those by Guthrie Green, continue further west on Brady.

"You see the full extent of what the streetscaping looks like and that's going to continue, down Brady and Cheyenne but the big thing is the sidewalks will be improved; trees will be put it; you'll see park benches and trash cans," Fleischman said. 

This tax district ending means that money now goes into general city services. There are other districts downtown, but this one was the first in Tulsa.