City Leaders Hope To Build On Momentum Of Downtown Development

Thursday, October 4th 2012, 10:19 pm
By: Tess Maune

Downtown Tulsa is growing faster than many could have predicted.

The city approved a downtown master plan two years ago, and already more than $430 million of private investment has gone into development.

The city, county and chamber have teamed up to hire a consulting firm to help build on that momentum.

The firm's job will be to come up with a strategic plan so that the vision of the downtown community can be achieved.

3/13/2010 Related Story: See Downtown Tulsa Master Plan Online

"With the development of the infrastructure here, it's really putting Tulsa back on the map, downtown, which is really cool," said Bill Copeland.

Bill Copeland has a taste for business. His candy shop, Glacier Confection, has been serving Tulsans in the Brady District for more than two years now.

"I chose downtown, because I wanted to be part of something that was hopefully going to develop into the new town, if you will, from the old town," Copeland said.

See what else is developing in Tulsa's Brady District.

Tulsa Metro Chamber President, Mike Neal, said downtown Tulsa has experienced unprecedented growth in the past decade.

To keep up with the pace, the city, chamber and county, together, hired Mary Means & Associates, a consulting firm out of Washington, D.C.

"We interviewed consultants from all across the country. We were very open to local consultants, we were very open to consultants around the globe," Neal said.

City leaders asked for proposals and interviewed a number of firms. Mary Means & Associates has brought on a couple of partners, from different parts of the country. Neal said they wanted to hire a firm with no preconceived notions.

"We want to make sure that we grow smart and we want to make sure that we take the necessary steps to be strategic, in that we don't do something that we think is a positive development, but would negatively impact other things," Neal said.

The firm will meet with stakeholders and community interest groups to reinvent the downtown master plan to accommodate some of the area's newer needs.

"We have now so many different interests, so many different activities and groups that have their own interest in growth potential," said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett.

And as the growth continues, business owners like Copeland will stand back proudly, as downtown Tulsa is put back on the map.

"It puts a quality level within the community that you don't really find other places. I mean, downtown is fun," Copeland said.

The planning process will take about seven months and cost $70,000 dollars.

Any recommendations would go to the city, county and the chamber.