The BOK Center has become the face of the Vision 2025 sales tax initiative approved by voters in 2003. Tulsa city councilors and the mayor hope to place a Vision renewal package on the ballot in April. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

The BOK Center has become the face of the Vision 2025 sales tax initiative approved by voters in 2003. Tulsa city councilors and the mayor hope to place a Vision renewal package on the ballot in April. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

City councilors on Thursday will sit around a table and try to figure out what economic development projects should be included in the Vision 2025 sales tax renewal package.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett will also bring his wish list to the meeting.

There will be no talk of building dams in the Arkansas River or funding public safety. The only issue on the table will be economic-development proposals.

There is a reason for this. The final scope and cost of a proposal to build low-water dams in the Arkansas River won’t be known until the end of the month. And there is still no consensus among councilors about whether a portion of the Vision 2025 renewal should be used to hire more firefighters, police officers and street crews.

So Thursday is about all the other stuff that might make it into the package, nothing more.

To be eligible for funding, the proposals must do at least one of the following: generate economic development and sales tax revenue; bring people together and connect destinations; and encourage and promote education, public safety and improved health.

Current projections are that the Vision tax renewal would raise $226 million if it runs five years; $470 million if it runs 10 years; and $732 million if it runs 15 years.

Councilors have been asked to keep their list of projects to no more than $600 million.

For specifics on each project, including estimated cost, go to the Tulsa City Council website.

The 6/10ths of a cent Vision 2025 sales tax expires at the end of 2016.

The councilors’ goal is to figure out what will be in the Vision renewal package by Dec. 18. The vote is scheduled for April 5.

But first, they need to figure out what economic-development projects will make the cut. Here’s what Mayor Dewey Bartlett and city councilors were thinking as of Tuesday, when the Frontier asked them to list the top projects on their lists:

Mayor Dewey Bartlett
Gilcrease Museum expansion, Performing Arts Center improvements, Airport Development Initiative, including Air National Guard request, widening of Mingo Avenue from 71st to 91st streets.


Anna America
Cox Business Center renovations, Mohawk Sports Complex  and the BMX National Headquarters at Expo Square.

“There are other projects I will support where economic development is a key factor but not the only factor,” America said.

G.T. Bynum
Gilcrease Museum: “It’s a classic case of a poorly invested asset. We own the greatest collection of Western Art in the world and we house it in a poorly-maintained building from the 1950s. Gilcrease will be a major draw for visitors from around the world if we house it properly, and that will create a ripple effect both for other Tulsa destinations and for our global reputation as a world class city.”

The safety and teacher recruitment programs requested by our local education coalition: “The city has taken a pass on education leadership for too long and this is a very tangible step we can take to make our kids safer and Tulsa more competitive for teacher recruitment in a state that hamstrings us by underfunding teacher pay.”

Air National Guard simulator facility: “If we build the building, the Department of Defense will invest a significant amount in fighter jet simulators which will bring pilots from around the world to Tulsa, improve our chances of keeping that base open, and continue Tulsa’s role in America’s national security.”

Jeannie Cue
Funding for public improvements and a revolving fund for Route 66 (District 3 Route 66), Neighborhood Beautification and the Airport Development Initiative, followed closely by Gilcrease Museum and the Tulsa Zoo.

Connie Dodson
Dodson said there are so many great projects she hasn’t narrowed it down yet.

“I like to say it’s like a big bowl of soup: everybody is still picking their favorite pieces out,” she said.

Although she has not finalized her list, Dodson has done a little picking at the soup herself. The Gilcrease Museum expansion and the Tulsa Zoo projects are among her favorites. She would also like to see the Commercial Revitalization Program be supported.

Blake Ewing
“As you might imagine, I will be advocating for improved public transportation, primarily the Center of the Universe transit project, but other components of a transit plan as well.”

Karen Gilbert
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa Zoo and Cox Business Center.

“That doesn’t mean there aren’t others that won’t be a priority to me,” Gilbert said. “Those are the most obvious because we already have those facilities as assets to the city. We need to keep improving and enhancing those economic development pieces.”

Jack Henderson
Gilcrease Museum, Langston University, Mohawk Sports Complex, Mapleview Site Development.

Of the Gilcrease, Henderson said: “It’s a hidden treasure that we need to take better care of.”

Phil Lakin (not available for comment)

David Patrick
Patrick did not prioritize his list of 10 projects, which he said includes Gilcrease Museum, District 3 Route 66 program, the Tulsa Zoo, the Mohawk Sports Complex and improvements to the Cox Business Center.