Tulsa's 'Vision Summit'

Monday, July 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tuesday is Tulsa Mayor Bill Lafortune's 100th day in office. And he's marking the milestone by trying to develop building blocks for Tulsa's future.

News on Six anchor Scott Thompson says more than 700 people are expected to participate in Tuesday's Vision Summit. And the mayor's office has invited a futurist to get city leaders and citizens thinking about Tulsa's tomorrow. From a towering height of 6-foot 7 inches, you believe Glen Heimstra could see the future. But he's a futurist by profession not stature.

And he's got some advice for Tulsans. “Its clear to me from being here for a little while and talking to a lot of people that Tulsa has reached a transition point where you really need to ask what do we want to be like 20-25 years from now.” He’s not looking at Tulsa through a crystal ball, but speculating on what the future will hold by interpreting national trends in urban development.

"While we'll see some people who still want to maintain that really classic late 20th Century suburb style. We'll see a lot of people who won't tell how do you build a community for that." At the mayor's Vision Summit, Heimstra's to encourage people to think about capitalizing on our natural resources like the Arkansas River.

In some ways we're on the right track, Heimstra sites developments like the new Village at Central Park as a good way to encourage revitalization of downtown. But he wants to take us a step further. "What can the city do to encourage that to be as effective development as possible and have a more widespread affect on the whole community."

And despite repeated efforts to jumpstart downtown development, Heimstra still forecasts success. "Lets take this core downtown which is a lot of office towers and surface parking lots and 20 years from now lets make this a vital city. It could be done I don’t have any doubt about that."

Glen Heimstra has advised several cities on future planning; the list includes Seattle and Atlanta.