With the last pitch now thrown out in Drillers Stadium at Expo Square, the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority (" TCPFA"), has turned its attention to looking at the highest and best use of the property where the stadium sits. With so much development and improvements at Expo Square over the past few years, it is important to the TCPFA that the five or so acres at 15th and Yale enhance and contribute to the overall vision of the Expo Square development.
To begin this process of evaluation and study, the TCPFA appointed the Drillers Stadium Property Committee ("Committee"), which represents a wide cross section of interests and stakeholders in Tulsa County. The purpose of the Committee is to reach out to the community for their ideas and opinions and then to present to the TCPFA its findings, conclusions and recommendations following a thorough study of ideas presented by the public.
Under the leadership of TCPFA Chairman Fred Perry, the Committee began by adopting a set of Master Principals as a guide for the evaluation and consideration of ideas. While these Master Principals do not suggest a specific predetermined outcome or preference to the future of the site, they do serve to provide guidance in the evaluation of ideas. These Master Principals are:
-Preserve the primary purpose of the site to serve as a regional public amenity.
-To support only the highest and best uses which are compatible with and promote the greater good for the general population.
-To consider a wide range of uses to create an active, vibrant and everyday community gathering place.
-All uses should serve, complement, be compatible and part of the adjoining neighborhoods as well as the greater community, and
-All redevelopment/improvements should contribute to an overall vision of the whole site.
Once the Committee adopted the Master Principal, it then decided it is important to hear from the public on their thoughts, ideas and suggestions by creating an online survey, sort of an "electronic town hall meeting".
Unlike other processes where a decision has been made and then it's presented to the public for reaction, no decisions on projects have been made. The survey is a wide open opportunity for the public to weigh in at the beginning.
This survey, which will run until Oct. 31, can be found on the homepage of the Tulsa County Web site, HYPERLINK "http://www.tulsacounty.org"; www.tulsacounty.org. Printed versions of the survey are also available at the public libraries.
At the conclusion of the survey period, the Committee will study the results looking for trends, common themes, and those ideas which match up with the Master Principals. It is hoped this process can be concluded by the first of the year. At that point, a written report with recommendations will be submitted by the Committee to the TCPFA.
Once the Committee's report is presented, the TCPFA could have several options. It could take the recommendations and put out a request for proposals to those in the development field to see how they would design these ideas. The TCPFA could also have additional community meetings to share the results of the Committee's recommendation with the public.
It is hoped by the end of the first quarter of 2010, that the TCPFA has a much clearer vision on what is the highest and best community use of the Drillers Stadium property.
-Terry Simonson is Director of Development and Governmental Affairs for Tulsa County
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