New Signs Around Helmerich Park Create Confusion, Rekindle Dispute

Monday, April 24th 2017, 5:53 pm

The City of Tulsa is restricting public access to Helmerich Park, which the City is selling to a developer.

The deal won't close until fall but signs to keep the public out are now in place and have not only rekindled the dispute over the sale but also created confusion.

The signs read “Authorized uses only,” and several were along the River Parks trail which looked like it was closed off too.

The signs surround a section of Helmerich Park, and the City managed to create confusion about their meaning.

Folks going in from Riverside could take it to mean keep out while joggers on the trail could take it to mean keep off.

Billy Williams was driving by and liked the looks of Helmerich enough to go for a walk, then found out it's going to be developed.

“I would prefer it stay the way it is,” he said. “This is my first visit and I'd like to be able to go back and forth, walk and run.”

The City had one sign in between the lanes of the trail sparking a new protest from the people who have opposed the sale all along.

While that one sign was misplaced, the rest are not.

“The one on the trail, the City made a mistake. They have made so many mistakes with Helmerich Park it blows the mind,” said park sale opponent Herb Beattie.

Monday morning, the City moved the signs and put one closer to the volleyball courts - the rest were moved inward to surround the eight acres the City has under contract to sale.

The dispute over the sale is going to court but the opponents think, regardless, Helmerich should remain open to the public until there's a resolution.

3/21/2017 Related Story: Second Lawsuit Filed Concerning Tulsa's Helmerich Park Land Sale

Beattie said, "It's a public park that was paid for this private and public park money intended for park uses, and we've been using park money to maintain it since 1991, and to say it's not a park and needed as a park is pure nonsense."

The City said released a fact sheet you can read below.

Park opponents plan a rally there Tuesday morning at 11:30 to push back against the new restrictions.