Tulsa's mayor says the 'State Of The City' is looking up

Thursday, September 18th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

After two years of economic struggles, Tulsa’s mayor is looking to the future with optimism. Thursday, Mayor Bill Lafortune gave his 2nd "State of the City" address and says the city has come a long way.

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler was at the Mayor's address and says Tulsa's 2003 job losses started in January with SBC, then just about every month, we heard news of layoffs at Williams, WorldCom, American Airlines, and more. So why is Mayor Lafortune's outlook so bright?

“Yes. Yes. Yes. And yes." According to Mayor Bill Lafortune. Four words changed the course of Tulsa's future, from a city reeling after losing 20,000 jobs, to a united community with brighter days ahead. “We'll have an exciting, vibrant downtown for our kids and for our grandkids. And I'm excited. Vision 2025 is the most significant funding package to pass in Tulsa in 23 years."

It's no big surprise that Vision 2025 was the star of Thursday's State of the City address, but you might be surprised to know just how many area leaders were behind it, and all of the reasons they wanted it to pass."

"I think it's the first time it's ever happened in Tulsa County and there was a lot of long meetings; a lot of ugly meetings, but everybody always came back." Jenks Mayor Vic Vreeland said it wasn't easy getting consensus from all of the Mayors in surrounding towns, because of special interests in each community. In Jenks, the aquarium gets 12-million Vision dollars.

Broken Arrow's NSU campus gets $26-million. But Mayor Richard Carter and other area leaders joined the coalition for more than just their communities. "I think the focus should've been and was that it's all tied in together. We're all interrelated, economically, and with families and friends and all these communities."

Rodney Ray, Owasso city manager, "When we talk about job growth for American and we talk about the potential of getting a great company like Boeing to be here, I think you can't deny the fact that this regional vision has now been validated and we can begin to create more jobs."

The potential for Boeing to bring its Dreamliner to Tulsa is still a possibility and a secret. Mayor Lafortune also says he's working to get low-income families more affordable, quality housing. He also wants more and better job training for workers who've found themselves looking for new careers.

As for actually implementing Vision 2025, the Mayor says "local contractors" will be given preference when bid time rolls around.