City Of Tulsa Pledges $3 Million Of Matching Funds For OKPOP Museum

Friday, May 18th 2012, 12:42 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The City of Tulsa had joined the effort to develop OKPOP Museum with a $3 million pledge of public local matching funds, which will be used for a parking garage.

Along with the city's pledge, Bank of Oklahoma is donating the land for the museum site in the Brady District ($2.5 million value) and the George Kaiser Family Foundation is contributing $1 million.

The $42.5 million bond OKPOP museum bond issue is currently being debated by the Oklahoma Legislature.

The entire Tulsa commitment of public and private dollars makes up more than 15 percent of the bond value.

05/10/2011 Related Story: BOK Commits Land For Tulsa Pop Culture Museum


The $3 million parking garage will be built if the state approves $40 million for the building from taxpayers.

It's a big idea with a big price tag.

The OK POP Museum would be the state's largest showcase of pop music and culture, celebrating everything Oklahoma.

It's backed by the chamber of commerce, the mayor and the city council.

"It will give northeast Oklahoma a significant economic and tourism boost," Mike Neal, Tulsa Chamber CEO, said.

The chamber figures 250,000 visitors a year would want to see it.

That would return $1.3 million a year just in sales tax.

The $42-million building would be part of the Oklahoma Historical Society;

The $3 million parking garage would be built by the city.

"Once it's completed and operating, we're not looking for any continual handouts from the legislature. This is a museum that will be supported by the private sector," Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.

The museum would be in the shadow of the Bank of Oklahoma tower, in what is now one of its employee parking lots just north of the railroad.

The bank is donating the land.

It would be steps from the new Zarrow Center for Art and Education - and will build on the growing presence of artistic venues in the Brady D.

But backers say the project depends on public money from the legislature to go forward.

"Our encouragement today to our legislators is to believe in Tulsa as much as we believe in ourselves. And to say we have a chance to do something really special in Tulsa, but we're going to need some help," Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing.

The legislature hasn't committed to the project, and it has a similar-sized request for a museum in Oklahoma City.

Both of those projects are expected to be considered after a repair project on the state capitol - estimated to cost at least $50 million.

You can learn more about the Brady District boom on our special page here.