Group Forms To Promote Growth In Downtown Tulsa

Wednesday, June 6th 2012, 7:42 pm
By: News On 6

One group is determined to make a thriving downtown even better.

Just this weekend, the Tulsa Drillers will play ball, the Broadway play Jersey Boys is at the Performing Arts Center, and theTulsa Tough will have cyclists racing in the streets.

With all this activity and growth, the Downtown Coordinating Council launched a neighborhood watch program.

The group, made up of 19 volunteers, already maintains sidewalks and streets and helps promote annual attractions.

However, it says there is room for improvement.

"But people have the impression that downtown isn't safe and we want to make people feel more comfortable down here," said Tom Wallace, Downtown Coordinating Council Chairman.

Wallace says police stats show downtown crime is low, but they want to enhance the perception of safety. It all starts with a Downtown Security Ambassador.

Zach Phillips will man the streets by bike or by car. He's a friendly face who will also have access to reach current private security guards throughout the inner-dispersal loop.

"I'm very excited about the program," Phillips said. "Ready to help my community, direct people who need directions, restaurants, businesses and things like that.

The DCC is also budgeting to add more trees for several reasons. No. 1: Trees decrease crime in an area.

Wallace says the group has looked into studies that say trees deter criminals, increase property value and encourage people to visit.

What about parking?

"Everyone will raise their hand and admit that our parking system is broken in terms of metered parking," Wallace said

The DCC will add weekend and event parking, with the use of the city parking garage and improvements, to parking enforcement staff.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett says the group is working on converting some one-way streets in to two-way streets, but that will happen next year.