As another year draws to a close it is important to look back at what we have accomplished to better plan our goals for the new year. While we reflected the one thing that stuck with us was how much commitment Tulsa is showing to a renewed sense of community. A deep desire to be outdoors and a measurable value in what we have. Tulsa, again you leave us happy and speechless. Thank you.
It was a little more than a year ago that Tulsans faced the prospect of losing a large chunk of woodlands at Turkey Mountain to commercial development.
Citizens spoke up and were heard by city leaders as well as the prospective developers, and the land in question – about 48 acres at 61st Street and U.S. 75 – was removed from any plan for a shopping center.
The future of the land was further secured by the generosity of two local private benefactors, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the QuikTrip Corporation.
The entities purchased the property with the intention of keeping the land undeveloped, but they also wished to serve as placeholders for the city of Tulsa.
Enter the Vision 2025 extension. The proposed renewal of the Vision 2025 sales tax includes more than $7 million for the land now being held by GKFF and QuikTrip. Should voters approve Vision 2025, some of the money generated by the sales tax extension would be used to pay back GKFF and QuikTrip. In turn, the land would be grafted into the existing Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area currently managed by the River Parks Authority.
City leaders wisely questioned commercial development of this acreage, and the developer correctly walked away. Public sentiment demanded it, as the overwhelming majority of Tulsans wished to see all of Turkey Mountain kept wild. Now the citizens have the opportunity to finish the work and vote yes on the Vision Tulsa extension on April 5.
The Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition sees the Vision extension as a wise move for the city, its residents, and for securing the future of Turkey Mountain. For that reason, we urge voters to approve the proposal on April 5.
For the full press release click here.
“Based upon an in-depth review of Simon’s plans, their lack of follow up detail, and how these plans do not respect the surrounding properties and their future intended use, Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition cannot support Simon’s development plans and requests for public tax incentives for this site. We wish Simon well in the Tulsa market but feel it is unfortunate they selected this site without apparent consideration for what pristine urban wilderness means to not just Tulsa, but the entire region,”
TUWC public relations coordinator Laurie Biby said.
Turkey Mountain update: Simon Group meets with Tulsans about mall plan, and the reception gets chilly
Simon appears reluctant to share any of its 2,000 parking spaces with trail users. Instead, the company plans to go to the George Kaiser Family Foundation (one of the property owners adjacent to the proposed mall site) and see if the foundation would mind tearing up its property to put an additional 50 or so parking spaces and trailhead access. It’s been communicated to Simon that trail users do not want to sacrifice even more wild land for parking.
A bad mall plan’s details are revealed, and it still looks pretty bad
The outlet mall at Turkey Mountain would degrade quality of life for Tulsa. Notice I didn’t say an outlet mall on its own is a bad thing. But rather an outlet mall in that location would degrade a real asset for the city, an area with more than 40 miles of wooded trails for hikers, cyclists, runners, geocachers and equestrians. Individuals and families go there to experience nature on its terms without having to drive out of the city. As it exists, the greater Turkey Mountain area is a prime site for people to get outside, exercise and get in tune with nature like no other place in the city. Plopping a mall on a chunk of that land would degrade the experience.