TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Home ownership has increased in Tulsa and strides have been made to rebuild older parts of the city, but Mayor Susan Savage said Monday that tourism is one of the biggest challenges of the future.
In a "state of the city" address, Savage described Tulsa as a "healthy and strong" city with "boundless potential," but she said there are problems in the area of convention and tourism.
The 500 or so people attending the address were asked to urge family and friends to support a $263.3 million convention and tourism sales tax package during the Nov. 7 election. "It's Tulsa's Time," would require residents to accept a half-cent sales tax for about 71/2 years to fund construction of a new arena, expansion and the convention center and related improvements.
Savage took jabs at groups opposing the measure.
"They are predictably critical without offering another solution, even though they acknowledge the seriousness of the problem," Savage said.
Many of those opposed to the proposal also were against the $200 million Tulsa Project in 1997.
Savage also touched on other city projects including the expansion of the Gilcrease Expressway and construction of a midtown bus transit station.
The mayor, who earlier this month entered her eighth year in office, also spoke of several residential redevelopment projects in older and impoverished areas of town.
"Over the past year, we have seen encouraging signs in Tulsa's homeownership trends," Savage said.
Owner occupancy of single-family homes in Tulsa County has increased to 78 percent, according to Savage. Neighborhood revitalization is "more than simply a slogan," she said.
"Tulsa has boundless potential to decide in this new century what we can be rather than what we cannot be," Savage said. "We have the natural and human resources; we have the framework and the foundation.
"Our challenge is to determine if we have the will to take the necessary steps together to create a greater Tulsa."