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Author Topic: What next for Tulsa?  (Read 6967 times)
TheArtist
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« on: April 05, 2009, 01:51:52 pm »

  I think we are at a critical crossroads.  What we do in the next 3-5 years will greatly determine the path this city will take.

2025 was a great first step. But its winding down, so whats next?

The comprehensive plan will help, IF, its implemented.

Updated zoning will help, the ballpark will help, having these new small college campuses will help, the slow and steady rejuvenation of downtown and mid-town will help, improving the river parks will help, etc..... But all of these things are really us trying to play catch up to other cities, cities that themselves are still moving forward. Or at least once this recession is over, will start moving forward again. We have this little lull that we can use to our advantage and play some catch up. But the race will be on again soon enough.   And we are still behind and over all, falling behind.

We have a decent reputation, and are known as being a great place to raise a family with decently growing suburbs. But I have noticed that, we are slowly becoming less relevant, forgotten about, even spoken more poorly of. There are glimmers of hope and positivity that shine out from the city on occasion, but there also seem to be more and more negative assessments about the city as well. If that trend continues, it wont be good news. A lot of our good news of late has been the afterglow of high oil prices last year. We cant rely on oil, and we shouldnt want to. We have to be more than that fading flower.

 I don't think people here really get that we are competing against moving targets. That just because we see some improvements, doesn't mean we are catching up. We can still be moving ahead, but also be falling further and further behind, until one day the last trickle of positive momentum we do have, slows to nothing. And then the negative momentum takes over. The negative growth takes over, the negative rumors, perceptions, and talk about Tulsa take off. No matter how nice the suburbs are then, they and Tulsa will die in that environment.

Again, we are doing all kinds of things we need to be doing, should have done 20 years ago. But what can we do beyond that? Continuing to truck along as we have been, aint gonna do it.


ZONING

There is a thread on another forum talking about what mid sized cities can do to attract and be competitive for Young Professionals. One of the unexpected things to me was how many people mentioned zoning. Preserving and enhancing historic areas. Having dense, urban, well designed, pedestrian friendly areas. That discussion showed me yet one more reason as to how critical the zoning element will be with our new comprehensive plan. We NEED to make sure the ideas are adopted and enforced.

UNIVERSITIES (What could we be known for? What could be our FOCUS)

They and we have also mentioned many times how the "best places to live" YP attracting places are also big college towns.  Some here have made the point that we cant be that because of the way our state and politics are. But I still think we can improve there. One extra thing we could do is find a focus. OKC is growing its medical research campuses and trying to become known as major player where that type of research is happening. (newest building  http://newsok.com/oklahoma-medical-research-foundation-research-tower-to-be-earth-friendly/article/3356657?custom_click=pod_headline_technology ) Its working towards making that as part of its identity. What could one or more, of our colleges focus on, become known for. What could we as a city get behind and support to take us to the next level. Not just having adequate college offerings, but have something to be known for, to strive for, to shine at?  


RECREATION  (Points of focus to make River Parks point of pride, energy and buzz.)

 Couple other things that people often mention that put an area in a positive light and help its economy. Recreational opportunities and being the Capitol. Well we cant be the capitol lol, that's already kinda been decided. One person showed a map of the US and where young people tend to move,,, you could almost see mountains and ocean shorelines without having any lines or cues on the map to tell you where those were. Now we don't have mountains or oceans either lol, and that's kinda already been decided too  Tongue.  BUT we could really play up and enhance the river parks, trail system, Turkey Mountain (kaiser is going to put in some rock climbing stuff there), Tulsa Wave kayaking, get those dams built, have plenty of great parks downtown and mid-town, etc. Again, finding something and being exceptional at it. The River Parks has great potential and could really be made to be exceptional on so many fronts. But its going to take doing a lot more than what we are doing. Its going to take deciding to invest in it and making it exceptional. Not just "nice", but showcase after showcase, better than what anyone else has and perhaps focusing on one or two things.  Look at what OKC is doing with its rowing stuff. Even with the ratty river they have, they are working it, taking something like rowing and focusing on it, and creating a point of pride, energy and buzz. What can our "thing" be?


ENTERTAINMENT

I think we are making progress here. D-Fest is a great example. A small thing that has become more than average to become exceptional and a point of pride. But we can do more, building things like the Day of the Dead celebration, have a real Arts District. Got an email from a young guy wanting to start an arts district near Admiral and College. On the one hand I hope he does well. But on the other hand it seems to be yet another thing that could end up being a "not quite". We have lots of small not quite areas. But no focus, no one large arts district. Even the Brady Arts district doesn't seem to be heading in that direction. The new art museum and "artists lofts" will help, but its not enough and what else? The ballpark will have developments around it and there are other developments going in, but they aren't arts related. KOTV isn't arts related. etc. We keep watering down and not enhancing it as being an arts district. Its just a whatever and whoever wants to build something there district. There has been talk of turning the Fin Tube site into an artists colony. Pick ONE area already! lol, focus on it, and make it happen.


In summary lol

 I think we need to decide on points of focus and exceptionalism.

We are trying to catch up by doing the basics, and we need to do that sure. But by doing only that, we are not really catching up at all. We are languishing in some ho hum, boring, twilight world where we risk falling off the map all together and going into decline. What can we do beyond that to shine? What can be our points of focus and exceptionalism? With our...

1. ZONING?
2. UNIVERSITIES?
3. RECREATION?
4. ENTERTAINMENT?
5. OTHER?



And just when you thought you might be off the hook with my famous long, sunday rants lol.

« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 02:02:51 pm by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 03:19:41 pm »

TRANSPORTATION

I'm surprised that you overlooked this. 

TIA is probably under-utilized, though it's hard to convince the airlines that we deserve more frequent flights.

Rail is definitely an area for improvement, not only with light rail for commuters but with a high speed line connecting to OKC and DFW.

Private automobiles?  What's not to love about private autos.  We need more and bigger parking lots downtown (snark!).

Pedestrians - I think this ties in more with urban planning, re-zoning, and the like, but I'd like to see neighborhoods that are more pedestrian friendly, i.e. services within walking distance, reduced speed limits for motor vehicles, and wheelchair friendly infrastructure.

Bicycling - again, zoning changes regarding bicycle parking, employee lockers, etc.  A velodrome would be an outstanding addition to the city, particularly one along the lines of the public/private model set by the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown.  It's a money maker and it generates spin off businesses.

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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 05:58:09 pm »

Disclaimer I am all for growth of all types around all parts of green country, I think if our neighbors do well that will benefit us. I am a Tulsan though and will always support Tulsa before any other community.

Government

With the disclaimer out of the way our region as a whole needs much better representation at the state level. We should be fighting much harder than we are to service the greater Tulsa Metropolitan area.  We as a region needs to either fight for better share of state funds or find a way to rid ourselves of a state sales tax. IT would be one thing if we where subsidizing growth in rural Oklahoma, which we are BUT we are subsidizing too much of OKC’s growth. This isn’t a city rivalry issue; it is just plan misuse of state tax dollars.

Transportation

With more balanced power within the state I think some of our larger issues could be tackled, and yes connecting OKC with Tulsa is one of those issues. We need better transportation within Tulsa, but we need an easy connection to OKC so our residents can voice their concerns directly to the people that “matter.” It would also be an economic boom for both cities the intercity commerce would be great for both areas. People visiting the area could get a connecting flight to either airport and have easy access to both cities, this could make us a hot spot for business travelers that want city fun and maybe some time fishing since both Tulsa and OKC have lakes in there surrounding areas, helping grow our recreation industry.

Before we invest heavily in local rail and expanded public transportation at large we need to work on changing people’s mindsets about public transit. From ordinary people to employers every level of people needs to rewire their brains. Most businesses even 9 to 5 businesses will not hire you if you do not have a car, there reason: “The need for reliable transportation.” That would be fair if Tulsa Transit was unreliable, sure they aren’t always on time on stops, but any responsible adult would make for extra time in their travel arrangements as it is, be it for their own car or the bus.

Zoning

Zoning should encourage growth at all levels, it should be set up in a way to protect people’s property rights but at the same time not unnecessary hinder progress and development. When it boils down to it, it’s that simple, we need people in power that can help make that happen.

Education

We have strong aeronautics, aviation, engineering, technical, and medicial fields, we should focus on bolstering the education systems these fields effect directly and indirectly and work on bringing more business to the area.

We already have most of the ground work laid out, we can make Tulsa a great hub again all the pieces are there. Our Universities and policies leaders should work with these industries and work on giving them and their potential employees what they need to not only learn here but work here.

When it comes to things like education we sometimes get stuck on bike shed issues and forget about the big picture, sure education is to provide a growing experience for us, but at the end of the day its primary focus to help mature and train a workforce. To that end we should work with those industries and there supporting industries to make there employees better and go from there.

Urbanization

Much like entertainment I think the urban concept is going to differ between everyone, lucky for us we have different areas of town going about it in different ways. As a disclaimer I will say urbanization of any area should make walking easier be it for just that walking or getting to services and work. That is something some of our “urban” areas are missing, either work, or things to do, but things do take time.

City Core

Our City Core is already urban in a lose definition but it lacks many services and for the most part suffers from suburban influence, there is too much surface parking,  the structured parting we do have misuses land at best and is almost  waste at worst. Sadly until optimum density hits I don’t see this getting much better. As a disclaimer; until we start filling the building we do have and reusing them I don’t there should be a big push to build a new except in areas it makes since. Long term I would like to see surface parking change into one of three things: green space, structured parting, and new buildings.

Entertainment/Amenities/Lifestyle/Recreation

Entertainment what a wide subject; Artist my question to you would be, how would YOU define the word?

To me “Entertainment” correlates with “Amenities” and “Lifestyle,” so in a way I think they each effect how we define entertainment, for one person a Gym may be entertainment, for another they may hate it but it might be a nice amenity and a lifestyle choice. Part of how people will define the meaning of said words is if they want an urban and suburban life. Lucky for us Tulsa offers both and is improving in both areas. 

Broadly speaking though, if we beef up out offerings for both urban living and for the suburban dream we will over all improve the entertainment experience for most people.

As for recreation I agree our river is our best asset and we could be utilizing it to its fullest.


Utilization


Now that the convention centers expansion is well under way and the BOK Center is open we should be booking large conventions for the years after the expansion is complete. Think about it we will have tens of thousands of square feet of convention space between the convention center, the BOK Center, Hotel convention space and the baseball park. We also have Expo Square and other resources at our disposal, with clever use of differing sized shuttles and parking chasm we could bring in some very large conventions or even host more than one at a time.

We as a city should be using what we already have and what we will have to get more businesses in the area even if it is temporary during conventions. Think about it lots of services industries would pop up here, meaning more permanent jobs, meaning more tax dollars, meaning better services for everyone.

Utilizing our resources to our fullest extent will get our name tossed around more, giving us more attention, putting us higher on the list for new businesses and businesses looking to relocate.  We should be open and willing to work towards these ends to make Tulsa better for everyone.

NOTE: Sorry for being so long winded.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 05:59:50 pm by godboko71 » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 07:07:26 pm »

But I have noticed that, we are slowly becoming less relevant, forgotten about, even spoken more poorly of.
Until we manage to change the perception (or is it reality?) that Oklahoma is full of crazies, this will not improve. I doubt that most in Tulsa, much less the rest of the state have any problem with being perceived as bible thumping theocrats.

That's not to say we should just throw up our hands and forget the idea of improving Tulsa. We just have to do it for ourselves, because we want a better city, and not for some unattainable goal of improving the rest of the nation's perception of us.
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2009, 10:47:30 pm »

Until we manage to change the perception (or is it reality?) that Oklahoma is full of crazies, this will not improve. I doubt that most in Tulsa, much less the rest of the state have any problem with being perceived as bible thumping theocrats.

That's not to say we should just throw up our hands and forget the idea of improving Tulsa. We just have to do it for ourselves, because we want a better city, and not for some unattainable goal of improving the rest of the nation's perception of us.

Austin thrives in a conservative state, as does Atlanta, Indianapolis, Nashville, etc.  I think that as we improve Tulsa with all of the things mentioned i.e. enhanced recreation, revitalizing the urban core, walkable neighborhoods, better schools and universities, etc. that will attract people and jobs to the city.  Tulsa doesn't necessarily have to be labeled conservative even if the rest of the state (and suburbs) are..

And I would list these a top priorities for the city:

1.  HIGHER EDUCATION: use city and state funds to bolster OSU-Tulsa and make it an independent entity from OSU.  Right now OSU-Tulsa acts as a satellite campus for Stillwater which is NOT the way it should be set up.  Do whatever it takes to expand the degree offerings and build more buildings at the downtown campus.  Maybe even rename it Tulsa State University to better reflect its position as its own institution, yet still closely connected to OSU and TCC.  Having a 'Tulsa State' as the major public university and also OU-Tulsa with its programs in midtown makes Tulsa more attractive and better for business. 

2.  SECONDARY EDUCATION: put together a MAPS for Kids-like tax proposal that goes to significantly altering Tulsa Public Schools.  New facilities and programs would come out of this and help TPS compete with suburban school districts.

3.  TRAILS/BIKE LANES: One of Tulsa's best assets needs to be expanded with more river trails west to Lake Keystone, south to Bixby and BA, and in the city along Crow and Joe Creeks.  Also adding bike lanes to key roads would promote more biking in the city.

4.  TRANSPORT: develop a PLAN for streetcars and light rail and do whatever it takes to get public support and funding.  Development around TOD's in such a plan could really change the city for the better.  Portland based its growth on rail lines and access to transit, so should Tulsa.

5.  GREEN DEVELOPMENTS:  build a more sustainable Tulsa by encouraging green design/construction and offering tax breaks for doing it and incentives for things like businesses with showers for bike commuters, residences that buy EnergyStar appliances or get LEED certified, and requiring all new city buildings to be LEED.  Also provide incentives for green companies and jobs.  Get citywide curbside recycling finally started and reduce trash pickup to once a week with polycarts, and mandate recycling by fining those who don't do it.

5.  RIVER: build the low water dams but with locks to encourage boating on the river.  The river is the city's prime asset and should be showcased.  The first river proposal failed but if the city goes after it again, without the burbs this time, I think it would fare better.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2009, 10:52:03 pm by SXSW » Logged

 
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« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2009, 07:31:59 am »

Great thread Artist.   I need time to draft a coherent and comprehensive answer.
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« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2009, 08:05:38 am »

Good to hear the different responses. Want to wait to get a few more, find common threads and work on narrowing things down into a list of concise specifics, those "points of focus".   

But I do want to caution that it seems these lists are again, about doing a lot of the general and obvious basics.

We should automatically be recycling more and pushing for that and doing leed buildings. Achieving that would catch us up to average. And yes we need to do that, But what in the way of green tech/etc. could we do to make a name for ourselves and be exceptional in? I want to shoot for the stars, dream big, but at the same time not be too general but focused on a specific goal.

Expanding trails and bike lanes? Sure,,, but what would be a goal for us, a point of pride and exceptionalism? Being able to say..."We have the most extensive trail system in the US" or "The best..fill in the blank.".

Amenities along the river... OKC is becoming exceptional with its rowing facilities, rowing competitions, etc. What specific thing could we do?  Perhaps we could play off of Tulsa Tough, help promote and grow that, build a velodrome, expand the bike trails, a better more extensive free bike program, etc. and shoot to become the Bike Capitol of the midwest. Have world class V-ball facilities sand and indoor along the river, national and international competitions, etc. Having more trails is basic and general, building the dams is basic and general. Those would just catch us up to average... except that by the time we have done them, others will have moved on and done more, and we are left again, behind chasing the moving targets. I want to leap ahead in a focused manner and become #1 in....?  I think those kinds of things are what can get people excited and involved.

The education and college thing has a lot of interesting possibilities. I think the focus on aviation and engineering that was mentioned is interesting to consider. Making OSU Tulsa an independent university is interesting. Lets have some more ideas on that front then play around with the possibilities and see what would be most productive and most feasible.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 08:07:51 am by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2009, 10:02:01 am »

I'd be curious to see where Tulsa ranks in miles of biking/jogging trails compared to other cities.  I think that is something we can excel at having so many different options for bikers and runners, especially along the entire stretch of the river in Tulsa County from Lake Keystone all the way to the Conjada Mtns.  Extending and promoting the Midland Valley Trail is also important because of its scenic beauty that goes from downtown/urban setting to the Osage Hills and, once connected to Barnsdall, the Tall Grass Prairie (one of the last preserved prairies in the country). 

I think promoting the river (which means developing it as an asset i.e. low water dams, development, etc.) and the many trails and creating more of a perception that Tulsa is an 'outdoorsy' place would be good for the city's image.  I don't think it would be stretching the truth either with many people in Tulsa who run and bike on the trails, go fishing and boating on the area lakes, golfing almost year-round, go hiking, camping, and rafting in the nearby Ozarks and Ouachitas, etc.  Tulsa is a more outdoorsy city than most landlocked cities in the Midwest and South, and we need to promote that.

I do think the easiest way to 'set us apart' though would be to create a comprehensive planning and transit plan (like what PlaniTulsa is trying to achieve) that actually nets results and a comprehensive plan, within the next 5 years.  Planning for transit, even if it doesn't get built right away, encourages transit-oriented development which is what we want to see.
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« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2009, 12:09:44 pm »

Quality Jobs.

We are a company town that lost its company.

Everything flows from Quality (good paying) Jobs.

My mantra is work to enlarge our niche in the energy business, where we still have a critical mass.

Quality Jobs will give us the money to pay for all the other things on the wish list.

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« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2009, 01:06:48 pm »

Quality Jobs.

We are a company town that lost its company.

Everything flows from Quality (good paying) Jobs.

My mantra is work to enlarge our niche in the energy business, where we still have a critical mass.

Quality Jobs will give us the money to pay for all the other things on the wish list.



Quality good paying jobs is great and we should indeed pursue them. But one side of the equation that we are missing is the lifestyle factor. If I had a dime for every time I have heard a business say something like.  I have this great job that I need someone for, will scout all over the country, find someone, fly them here, wine them and dine them, they take a look around and go Oh hell no. lol  We can get great "labor" jobs and attract labor type people, but high skill, high quality, creative type jobs require high skill, quality, highly educated, creative people who want a certain lifestlyle. If they dont want to live here, the businesses go where those people do want to live. I have heard it over and over again how people will move to an area they like, even if it means not getting the job they would really want at first. Place first, then worry about the job.

My assistant, just left for Austin. Worked for me for over 5 years. May be taking a cut in pay working for a company there, but didnt want to live here in boring, low energy Tulsa anymore. Place first, then worry about job and money. Different types of people will indeed have different priorities. Do we care about what kind of people, and jobs, we attract here?

Or how many friends I have known that had to leave in order to move up in the company or career they have chosen because our local colleges dont offer the high level graduate programs they need to move up. This hurts businesses as well. They cant get the people here, they have to move them to the city from the places that educate them. We are not talking about call center jobs here, any trained monkey can do that.   

Plus by losing a lot of our young people and not attracting Young Professionals and Creative class people we are losing out on business creation. The businesses that those types of people create are often the types of jobs we want. If they dont want to live here, we are missing out on that creative, jobs of tomorrow, jobs creation.  Think of the kid who started Yahoo.

Quality of life, good transportation, good zoning and urban design, abundant educational offerings, a cities perceived desirability,,, are all jobs drivers. Plus we dont want just any old jobs, (Someone once told me that one of the things that hurt Tulsa, when we had the oil booms we attracted large numbers of working class and poor people who flocked here looking for work,"not career people but workers",,, few wealthy industries with limited numbers of high paying jobs at the top and masses of common, poorly educated, laborers, then when the high paying jobs/industry mostly left,,, ) we want high paying, high tech, high education, highly creative, etc jobs. Which means we need to be a city that attracts, grows and keep those kinds of people and companies.   

As for working to increase our niche in the energy industry... have heard this before. Could you be more specific?   We talking wind? solar? research?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 01:17:41 pm by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2009, 01:12:32 pm »

Fear not Artist.  We have a Twin Peaks restaurant now.  We can wine em, dine em. . .uh.



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« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2009, 01:50:13 pm »

I posted some figures here a year or so ago from the TulsaWorld comparing average oil industry compensation to average call center compensation and it was something like $62,000 to $28,000.

I’ve posted in various threads calling for funding of energy start ups, government and industry partnerships supporting small energy companies (who are expected to benefit the most from peak oil), city involvement in marketing to energy industry where we still enjoy “good will,” city lobbying of government for resources to support our energy business, and city and state addressing infrastructure needs of our energy business.

I see the affordable real estate downtown as “Energy Gulch,” the future home to many energy start ups.

There is an interrelationship between oil and alternative energy sources.  Oil will own a great deal of alternative energy if they are true to their history.

Peak oil will ensure that oil is more profitable than it ever has been throughout the remainder of our lives and oil will morph into future energy entities.  In fact we have already attracted some alternative energy start ups.  Support services for one apply to the other.

I remember Tulsa before she lost the title of “Oil Capital,” and the startling difference between Tulsa now and Tulsa then is the increased number of low-income folks that call the city home today.  Tulsa is crawling with poor Whites.  That wasn’t true before.

You’ve heard this saying, “Build on your strengths.”  Tulsa’s strength is what is left of our energy business.  It is the reason why we aren’t at 10 percent unemployment today and the reason why our housing market is still relatively strong.

Sure oil is boom and bust, always has been cyclical, like technology.  And San Jose certainly isn't trying to diversify away from technology.  You learn from experience and you work the cycles to your advantage.  Now, during this current slump in energy prices, is the time to expand our niche.

I agree life style is very important and Tulsa has plenty of lifestyle that caters to families and children.  Tulsa is a family and kid-friendly city.  That’s a big draw to a young family.

Tulsa will probably never really compete with Regional Centers like Dallas where my partner and I actually see gay couples.  We almost never see gay couples in Tulsa.  Although I see many single gay men who may very well be closeted.  I mean we can’t even use the word “Gay” in the name of our Gay Community Center.  Chickens.

Lord yes, we need more higher education, as a draw to young folks, as a brain trust for our energy industry, as a research vehicle for energy and as a counter balance to ORU’s evangelical influence.

And there’s something even more important than life style and that is income.  Amazing what good income will attract.  Those armies of young folks marching off to New York and LA and San Francisco, aren’t just looking for lifestyle, they also know there’s a better pay check in the mix.

As my friend Frank in Liberal Religious Youths at the Unitarian Church on Peoria always said – No mon, no fun.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 01:55:30 pm by Hometown » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: April 06, 2009, 04:45:10 pm »

 Ok, I like these lines....

""I’ve posted in various threads calling for funding of energy start ups, government and industry partnerships supporting small energy companies (who are expected to benefit the most from peak oil), city involvement in marketing to energy industry where we still enjoy “good will,” city lobbying of government for resources to support our energy business, and city and state addressing infrastructure needs of our energy business.

I see the affordable real estate downtown as “Energy Gulch,” the future home to many energy start ups.

There is an interrelationship between oil and alternative energy sources.  Oil will own a great deal of alternative energy if they are true to their history.""


Definitely something to throw into the mix.

Along with that perhaps enhancing our oil/energy name with alternative energy research and industries. Oil is something to still support, but, the world is changing  and other energy sources, technologies, and energy infrastructure needs will be the wave of the future. 

One thing all of these things need is engineers and research.

We have actually been shown this direction with the Helmerich ATRC at OSU Tulsa

"The Helmerich ATRC focuses on four strategic research and technology development thrusts that are part of the fabric and the future of the Tulsa region - materials science and engineering, bio-based technologies, energy technologies, and information and control technologies. Across these four areas, engineering faculty, graduate students and visiting scholars will develop new materials from the application of nanotechnology to ceramics, composites, aerospace materials, polymers and metals."

Growing and enhancing those 4 areas pretty much rounds up several comments on here.

Materials science and Engineering
Bio-based Technologies
Energy Technologies
Information and Control Technologies

Cant go wrong with our universities focusing on those.  Would be great if we could get OSU Tulsa to be one of THE places in the US where this was a big deal. It becomes a campus known for those things. We get the big donors to support these same threads (and not be shuffling money off to Stillwater lol) And of course setting up a system to get patents out into production and start up companies supported. 
« Last Edit: April 06, 2009, 04:53:14 pm by TheArtist » Logged

"When you only have two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other."-Chinese proverb. "Arts a staple. Like bread or wine or a warm coat in winter. Those who think it is a luxury have only a fragment of a mind. Mans spirit grows hungry for art in the same way h
carltonplace
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2009, 12:54:56 pm »

One of the things missing from your list is funding.

V2025 would not be possible today and is not likely to be renewed with the current state of the city/county relationship. Tulsans are more likely to approve sales tax increases than the surrounding suburbs because overall our sales tax rate is lower than in the suburbs, but I believe that we have reached voter fatigue in sales tax packages. I think that even the 3rd penny tax that we have relied on for so long will get harder and harder to pass.

Tulsa needs to find new avenues for revenue. Whether we try to recapture some of the state's 4 cents, grab some some portion of existing ad valorem from the county, commuter tax, or entice more people to move back into Tulsa from the burbs (higher gasoline prices, new developments, better perception of TPS, more higher ed opportunities, etc would help us to "unsprawl").

It's time to wrap up planning and move to doing. We have an excellent resource in Dr. Crowley; he has great ideas for the core area and we need to find ways to move his plans into action. The TDA needs to start moving its parcels that ring the CBD. It's fine to look for just the right development next to our new arena and convention center, but do we need to tight fist empty land in the East End or Brady? Dr Crowley mentioned the Evans-Fintube and West Bank sites at a meeting recently; his point was: why are we selling these sites? Why not long term lease them to the right developer/idea and let the developer free up some capital to use on improving the land rather than needing a huge upfront outlay to purchase the land. Let's move on the Pearl District. Let's rip the top off of the Elm Creek underground waterway where ever feasible to invite development. Let's get student housing in the (empty) area between Brady Heights and OSU Tulsa. Let's start small mass transit lines in the core. Let's finalize the master plan and enact the zoning changes. These things wont require a lot of money to accomplish (other than the transit), but they will create pockets of multi-use sustainable development that brings more tax payers into the core and they will pay for themselves many times over.

We need to find creative ways to fund the above.
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custosnox
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« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2009, 02:06:01 pm »

While reading the various replies and discussions here, there is something that has occured to me, safety.  While Tulsa has had a comparativly low crime rate for a Metro area, it is on the rise.  It has been pointed out in other threads about funding, though I personally think that something is happening with our tax dollars that move around in political hands, but that isn't the point of discussion.  With the recession in full swing, our crime rates have jumped up, especially with the sudden explosion of meth lab explosions.  Since Tulsa isn't really feeling the pinch of the recession like the rest of the country, things shouldn't be getting as desperate as they have so far.  When others are looking for a new place, and they see stuff like this all over the news, it never looks good to them.  Not to mention that most Metro area's tend to have their "bad" side of towns that the majority of these elements are restricted to, and while many concider North Tulsa our "bad" side of town, when you look at the crime maps, it's starting to look like the safer part of town. 

I will say that education is my highest priority.  With four school age children, I am getting a first hand look at how TPS is being handled, and I think that it can be done better.  Our standards are low, our curriculim is well below the national standard, and the pay of teachers is unexceptable.  This needs to be addressed if we want to see a better class of residents.
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