Controversy continues over 12-acres of land at 71st and Riverside in Tulsa.
A Texas developer has plans for shops and restaurants, but there’s a lawsuit over whether the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority can sell the land.
The developer, Don Bouvier, came to Tulsa from Dallas for an exclusive interview with News On 6 and our partner, The Frontier, about what he wants to do with Helmerich Park.
"This is a place you come to enjoy for an entire day," Bouvier said of the area of Helmerich Park near 71st and Riverside.
There will be one anchor sporting goods tenant, which he still can't confirm as REI, but that's just one part of the plans to develop along the river.
"We will actually be standing right here or sitting right here at tables, being able to enjoy and watch all the activity that is currently taking place," he said.
Bouvier said it would be similar to Katy Trail Ice House in Dallas, with an indoor/outdoor stage.
He pointed out numerous tweaks to the design since the process started - increased landscaping and outdoor seating, bike racks, an expanded open-air plaza and internal pathways.
“You're on the trail right here, hiking and biking, and you go right up to the door - so your experience will be contained right in this area right here," Bouvier said.
He called the entire project an overall compliment to the trail system.
Bouvier said, “It becomes a destination, a place to go, a place to start your day and a place to end your day.”
And if the development comes to fruition, it will be a regional draw that Bouvier is confident the public will be proud of.
"We’ve seen examples of what Tulsans really like and really want; some of the needs we've heard of what they want, and we think that this delivers on a lot of those needs," said Bouvier.
We did reach out to Smart Growth Tulsa, a group against this development. They said, “Smart Growth Tulsa enthusiastically supports an REI Store in Tulsa, just not in Helmerich Park…It is clear most Tulsans want to protect and preserve their open space in the RiverParks system…We encourage the developers to find a more suitable location within Tulsa's nearly 200 square miles."
You can read more on this story online by visiting our partner, The Frontier. You can also catch up on this story by clicking the links below.