The clock is ticking for Tulsa to come up with a plan to bring the Drillers downtown. Tulsa's minor league baseball team has agreed to negotiate with Tulsa city leaders for four months to relocate to a new stadium downtown. That stadium would likely be located in the East Village section of downtown, and would cost up to $70 million. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports some fans are speaking out about the new developments.
The Drillers' decision to move downtown has a lot of fans of the team, and fans of downtown talking. When the Drillers agreed to exclusively negotiate with the City of Tulsa over a possible move of AA franchise downtown, it quickly became a hot topic of conversation.
"If they can get it packaged together where it will benefit the people and the Drillers and the city of Tulsa, I think it would be great," said Tulsan Kristy Worley.
Mayor Kathy Taylor and Tulsa Drillers' owner Chuck Lamson signed the agreement late Monday. If no deal is reached on a downtown stadium by May 30th, the Drillers are free to explore other options.
"I would hate for it to go to Jenks and apparently they have four months to work something out, and I think she's smart enough to know that during that period of time that she can find financing and get it done," said David Sharp, who owns property in downtown Tulsa.
With the announcement that the Drillers are now pursuing a downtown stadium, where does that leave developers who had hoped the Drillers would be part of a billion dollar project in Jenks?
In August, the Drillers signed a nonbinding letter of intent with the River District Development Group, which has plans to build a stadium in Jenks at The River District. The group has issued a statement reading that it continues to feel that the Tulsa Drillers would be a wonderful addition to the River District. And, that it remains focused on delivering an urban village on the Arkansas River. And, hopes the City of Tulsa doesn't propose a tax increase to finance a new stadium.
Tulsa Mayor Taylor says part of the negotiations with the Drillers will include financing options, both public and private for a new stadium. No matter what happens, fans are ready for an exciting future for the team.
If everything goes according to plan, the Drillers would play in downtown Tulsa, in a city owned stadium, possibly as soon as the 2011 season.