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The Tulsa Urban Coalition presented the petition Tuesday. Many comments and concerns were expressed; the main concern being tax money spent on the creation of the TIF district. Another large concern is the potential added traffic on the nearby narrow road.
Something to keep in mind about the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition, for those not familiar with us, is who we really are.
In light of what caused us to go public — the proposal to build an outlet mall on Turkey Mountain’s west side — it might be easy to look at us as a protest group. And while we are concerned about the proposed mall, we are more than a protest group. So let me explain.
What we are is an advocacy group. We care about Turkey Mountain, as well as other wild places in the Tulsa area, and we have decided to do things that go toward celebrating and preserving those places. Places where families go to spend time together, children visit during field trips, and home to a summer camp.
That’s why we did a clean-up day — the most successful one to date — in mid-January, and will do more in the future. It’s why we are working with other stakeholders in Turkey Mountain, to make sure there is a voice for them on the area’s future. It’s why we have a virtual library of links to articles that tell of Turkey Mountain’s history as well as what is going on there now.
We plan to be here for the long haul. At some point, the mall issue will pass, but that does not mean we are going to fade away when that happens. Instead, the coalition intends to be around for a long time to keep educating the public on the importance of urban wilderness, to facilitate efforts in its preservation, and to give like-minded people a voice in how the community cares for this precious asset.
So there it is. You’ll hear our voice on the subject of the proposed mall. But you’ll see us in action on so many other things related to the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness — now and in the future.
Blah blah blah. ANYONE who has followed this story knows the land is privately owned. Kaiser did indeed buy a large amount of land between the Riverparks land and the proposed mall site and intends to keep it wild. Putting this mall next door to existing wild area, as well as paving 60 acres of wild area is devastating to this wilderness. And the mention of congestion?? This mall brings with it the worst traffic problems the sity has ever seen. Already, thousands of commuters bypass Tulsa Hills and speed down 61st Street and Elwood. Throw in this outlet mall and the two lane bridge over HWY 75, and this will be a major bottle-neck. This is a very sensitive issue to me, as I live in the neighborhood just west of the Turkey Mountain parking lot, and have to deal with traffic that has tripled since Tulsa Hills was built..
Anyway Turkey Mountain is unique. A wilderness within sight of downtown. It is important to keep it that way. An outlet mall can go anywhere. If you think we need one of course. We’ve been doing fine without is my opinion.
Infrastructure was another big concern. The traffic an outlet mall would bring to this street would be problematic. The Southwest Tulsa Area Chamber wants to encourage development that brings in sales tax, but they’ll be advocating for the infrastructure changes that would be necessary to make it all safe.
“It’s very heavily traveled. People sometimes park on the side of the road, and they’re trying to imagine something like a huge store and the traffic that it would take to get to that store,” says Matt Crain, from the Southwest Tulsa Area Chamber.
Many people we spoke with said they weren’t against the mall. They just don’t want it anywhere near the park.
“I mean we could use another outlet mall but not at Turkey Mountain. That’s our place to go walk,” says Moore.
“It’s happened before you know, where we’ve been threatened and we’ve been successful, so hopefully this time we will be,” said Turkey Mountain supporter, Dave Ridilla.
Turkey Mountain is home to a lot of critters, Everything from snakes, turtles, and deer to thousands of people: geocachers, hikers, runners, bicyclist, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and just people wanting to go get their heads clear.