Tulsa Leaders Getting New Ideas By Examining Nashville Growth

Thursday, September 3rd 2015, 11:08 pm
By: News On 6

More than 140 Tulsans are in Nashville as part of the chamber’s 2015 Intercity Tour. Now in its 6th year, the chamber decided to visit The Music City.

Many are starting to see similarities in Tulsa’s growth with what Nashville began to see about ten years ago.

Nashville has always been known for its country music, but now it's also known as one of the faster growing metro areas in the United States.

That’s why members of the Tulsa chamber, developers and elected officials visited, to take a closer look at how Nashville made it all happen; and, hopefully, they’ll bring some of that insight back to Tulsa.

9/2/2015 Related Story: Tulsa Boom Factory Kicks Off In Nashville

There’s more to Nashville than five city blocks of Broadway known to many as Honkey Tonk Row. There are buildings going up on every corner and real estate, tourism and population numbers are skyrocketing.

That growth and momentum shifted more than a decade ago when the city took a serious look at strategic planning, according to President and CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corporation, Butch Spyridon.

"Being really focused, and having specific goals and making sure you achieve them," he explained.

Thursday, several Tulsans listened intently to Spyridon as he explained how they started branding Music City to the world at a time when a much of its development didn't even exist.

Ray Hoyt with Visit Tulsa said, "For this group here, and for me, there is a lot of passion about Tulsa making its own way and being true to Tulsa, but we have to have that development."

While on a smaller scale than Nashville, a similar shift began in Tulsa with the construction of the BOK Center and ONEOK Field which are catalysts for the millions of dollars in investments that have followed.

“Private investors and development aren't going to come to Tulsa just because. We have to show them as a community and region that we are going to invest in our own selves and that will spur future development and our future and success," Hoyt said.

So what exactly should Tulsa invest in next? What is our brand and how do we want the rest of the world to see us? For the next eight months, the city will research just that.

Hoyt said, "You don't make a brand, people are your brand and they tell you what your brand is."

Music has always been deeply rooted in Tulsa's culture as well, so could our brand end up being something similar to Nashville?

Could be; but a constant theme was, whatever it is, it needs to be uniquely Tulsa. So it will be interesting to see what comes of that research.