Plans For Tulsa's Helmerich Park Addressed In News Conference

Tuesday, April 26th 2016, 7:51 am
By: News On 6

A senior vice-president for the Trust for Public Land held a news conference Tuesday in an effort to preserve Tulsa's Helmerich Park. 

The Helmerich Park Defense Alliance invited Ernest Cook to visit Tulsa regarding efforts to block commercial development at the park.

A Dallas-based developer wants to transform 12 acres of Helmerich Park near 71st and Riverside into a retail development and indoor/outdoor live music venue.  

4/21/2016 Related Story: Texas-Based Developer Talks Vision For Helmerich Park

During an 11 a.m. news conference, Ernest Cook discussed how the Trust For Public Land can protect the park to benefit the citizens of Tulsa.

"It would be great to have more recreation opportunities," stated Cook.

Cook says he's in Tulsa on a "fact finding" mission to see what his group might do to save Helmerich Park for public use.

"Even for people who don't use the park for recreation, people who drive down Riverside now look out at a park now and it's a very different experience to be surrounded by a strip commercial development," he said

.The developer on the project altered the plan with less parking and more trees and says it creates a stronger tie to the RiverParks trail.

Sale opponent Terry Young describes the plan as an orchard shading a parking lot.

"The developers new plan eliminated about 30 parking spaces out of 580 [and] put in about 2 dozen trees," Young explained.

While it's a relatively rustic piece of property for a park, the supporters of Helmerich believe it should either be improved as parkland or left alone.

"Even if it remains in its natural state, it's an asset to the city," Young added.