The Jazz Hall of Fame gets a new home


Monday, January 12th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Tulsa's Vision project is all about the future, but it begins with part of the past.

As News on 6 reporter Steve Berg tells us, one of Tulsa's favorite landmarks is getting all jazzed up.

The Tulsa Union Depot doesn't quite have the hustle and bustle of its glory days as a train station. But it's lost none of its flair. "And it does still remain a hallmark, a true treasure of Tulsa, and we're real excited to be part of its history as well." Chuck Cissel is the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame which will be moving into the Depot.

They'd hoped to build a brand-new facility, but their share of the Vision money was cut by more than half at the last minute.

In jazz fashion, they've improvised, and they say they're thrilled with the monumental old building. "Of course, the art deco architecture is amazing. It has beautiful appointments with the wood, the dark wood. It'll make a wonderful performance hall in here."

And the trip from whistle-stop to be-bop is really not that far. The current owners, WilTel, thoroughly modernized the building. Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller, who was just signing the contract, says it's the first structure involving Vision money. "This has been a wonderful adventure for us. This is just a small portion, but we will see a lot occur and this is wonderful, everything fell into place and I really believe everything will fall into place with the Vision 2025 over the next 12 months."

Now Cissel says the former train hub will be a cultural and entertainment crossroads. "The Performance Arts Center is at 2nd, we're on 1st, the Brady District is right down here. The Blue Dome district is right down the street, so there's a synergy, that can take place and happen here."

Besides a performance hall, the Depot will give the Jazz Hall some much needed meeting and office space, as well as room for a computer center for community use.