Jack Henderson has been on the Tulsa City Council since 2002. That’s a lot of council meetings, public hearings and important votes.
But if all goes as planned, Thursday could well be the most consequential day of the 65-year-old councilor’s political career.
That’s when he’ll unveil a plan to help bring 1,000 to 1,500 jobs to north Tulsa through the creation of a 162-acre economic-development area.
Henderson told The Frontier on Wednesday that a private entity — which he declined to name — has spent approximately $3 million to purchase the land.
The city councilor, never at a loss for words, wouldn’t spill the beans on the exact location of the property. But he did say it falls within the area bounded by 36th Street North on the north, Apache Street to the south, Lewis Avenue to the east and Martin Luther King Boulevard to the west.
All the city needs to do to make the project happen is to come up with money to provide infrastructure for the site, Henderson said.
And so at Thursday morning’s City Council committee meeting on the Vision 2025 sales tax renewal, Henderson will ask his colleagues to include $18 million in the package to pay for the infrastructure.
“I’ve done a lot of things” on the council, Henderson said. “I am proud of a lot of them, but this here has got to be one of the jewels.”
Henderson said the Tulsa Regional Chamber of Commerce has committed to help secure a business to occupy the site. Once that anchor business arrives, it would spur the need for gas stations, restaurants and other service industries to complement it, Henderson said.
“The main thing is (to get) a site big enough to create jobs, lots of jobs that are going to be in that area,” Henderson said. “So people will have an opportunity to find a job within their own community and see the community grow.”
Henderson gave a special thanks to the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative for its work on the project.
“This is a group of citizens who are committed to revitalizing north Tulsa,” Henderson said. “And these citizens are not all from north Tulsa, but they realize it’s time to develop north Tulsa.”
Of course, all Henderson can do is ask for the money.
It will be up to the City Council as a whole to determine whether the project makes it onto the Vision 2025 ballot.
Then voters get their say. The vote is expected to happen in April.