The Sunday Sampler is The Frontier’s weekly roundup of news and notes from Tulsa and beyond. Enjoy.
PRESIDENT G.T. BYNUM
Let’s start with a picture.
Yes, that is City Councilor and mayoral candidate G.T. Bynum pictured below. No, it is not his first campaign ad for the mayor’s race.
It’s his campaign poster for president of the United States, created in 1996, during his senior year at Cascia Hall Preparatory School.
Bynum and Libby Roin, formerly Libby Putman, were voted Most Likely to Succeed by their classmates that year.
Bynum insists he has no desire to seek any other elected office other than mayor, going as far as to say Roin’s name should have gone in the president’s slot.
“She’s always been a much more impressive person,” Bynum said.
Jerry Murphy is out as the ride provider for the Tulsa State Fair Midway.
The Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority last month agreed to enter into an agreement with North American Midway Entertainment of Farmland, Ind. Murphy did not submit a proposal.
The Public Facilities Authority, commonly known as the fair board, has yet to finalize a deal with North American Midway, but the arrangement has the potential to be a lucrative one for the fairgrounds.
North American Midway’s request for proposal states that it will pay the authority $1 million upon signing a three-year agreement with two, three-year renewal options.
North American Midway’s proposal guarantees $1 million in ride payments to the authority each year.
The Public Facilities Authority had not put the midway contract out to bid since it was awarded to Murphy in 1972. Murphy’s company is Spectacular Attractions.
The other companies responding to the fairgrounds’ request for proposals were Crabtree Amusements, Reithoffer Shows and Wade Shows.
CAN GILCREASE MUSEUM COMPETE WITH CRYSTAL BRIDGES?
I don’t know the answer to this question, but Gilcrease Museum officials seem to think the answer is yes.
All that’s needed, they say, is an infusion of $75 million in public dollars and another $50 million in private funds.
The public funds would come from the Vision 2025 renewal package; the private dollars would be raised by the University of Tulsa, which operates the museum on behalf of the city of Tulsa.
The idea is to build a facility worthy of the art collection it houses.
That means adding gallery space; overhauling the entrance to make it more accessible and welcoming; building an outdoor amphitheater; using pedestrian trails to connect the museum to the A Gathering Place for Tulsa park and other Tulsa attractions; improving Gilcrease Museum Road; and much, much more.
Perhaps the biggest proposed change to the museum is the plan to build the new entrance at a much higher elevation than the existing one, the better to provide stunning views of downtown Tulsa and the surrounding Osage County hillside.
The museum would rise above the hills, rather than be lost among them.
So is all that worth $125 million? Would the improvements help the museum increase its attendance from the 80,000 people a year it currently draws to the 500,000 that visit Crystal Bridges every year.
Gilcrease Museum officials think so, and Crystal Bridges officials will tell you that people don’t come to museums solely for the art.
ARKANSAS RIVER DEVELOPMENT:
Several city councilors and Mayor Dewey Bartlett are among a group of public officials and private citizens scheduled to tour possible development sites along the Arkansas River on Friday.
The tour is part of a working group’s effort to create development guidelines along the banks of the river. The working group was an idea that came out of the city councilors’ and mayor’s annual retreat.
Members of the working group include Councilors G.T. Bynum, Phil Lakin, Jeannie Cue and Blake Ewing; Clay Bird, executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development; Matt Meyer, executive director of River Parks; architect Ted Reeds; developer Warren Ross; and others.
The tour is expected to visit several potential development sites, though officials stress that the tour is a brainstorming session only and that no plans are in place to develop any of the sites.
The Arkansas River Infrastructure Task Force has proposed building a low-water dam in south Tulsa/Jenks and overhauling Zink Dam to improve recreational and economic-development opportunities along the river. The proposal is expected to go to voters April 5 as part of a Vision 2025 sales tax renewal package.
The City Council earlier this year approved a development moratorium that covers the same area that would be covered by the development guidelines. The moratorium expires April 15.
The area includes most of the east side of the Arkansas River within the city limits and select areas along the west bank of the river within the city limits.
The proposed development guidelines would have to be approved by the City Council and would be subject to public hearings at both the council and the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission.