The Downtown Area Master Plan -- the first of the small area plans provided for in the city's recently adopted comprehensive plan update -- has earned the city's stamp of approval.
The City Council approved the plan at its Oct. 14 meeting, the final step in its journey toward inclusion in the PLANiTULSA document. The plan -- which was put together by Dr. Jack Crowley, former special adviser on urban planning for then-Mayor Kathy Taylor -- has three primary purposes, to revitalize downtown, connect it to the Tulsa River Parks system and initiate a rail transit system outward to the beginnings of future corridors that will serve the city and the region.
"It's exciting. There are a lot of projects included in the plan that already have been initiated by the private sector," said Stephen Carr, a senior planner with the city, adding that those projects now have been officially validated.
"We're continuing to move forward on other projects that we've identified, and we're trying to leverage the funds we have and locate other sources for other capital projects," he said.
The construction of the BOK Center and ONEOK Field in recent years has set a high standard for the rest of the community to shoot for, Carr said, and he believes the success of those entities will give the private sector much greater faith when it comes to investing in downtown.
The next small area plan -- described in PLANiTULSA as plans that address the issues of a portion of the city, covering as little as 10 acres or as much as thousands of acres -- to begin the approval process will be the one for the Brady Arts District. Carr said city officials are meeting with Brady supporters next month to go over some final changes to that document, so it could still be late fall before it goes before the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.
"We've got a few more stops to make before then, just so we make sure we have the right components of the plan in place," he said.
The development of small area plans throughout the city is regarded as one of the major elements of PLANiTULSA, Carr said, and plans for other parts of the city are sure to follow.
"We're getting lots of requests for small area studies," he said.
But that process may not move as quickly as everyone would like, he noted.
"The big question is not the amount of enthusiasm, but the lack of city resources," he said. "Fortunately, some of the foundations have been stepping up."
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