Group of Tulsa citizens question possible sale

Posted at 11:56 AM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 12:56:16-05

TULSA - A group of Tulsa citizens is opposing the partial sale of Helmerich Park after it was approved by the Tulsa Public Facilities Authority. 

A former Tulsa mayor said that the sale violates multiple city ordinances and the city's charter. Former mayor Terry Young and a group of 67 citizens in Tulsa point to a 1991 video of then city councilor Dewey Bartlett discussing the future of the park.  

Bartlett now says he supports the commercial development of Helmerich Park. 

In 1991, then city councilor Bartlett asked for assurances that the park could not be sold to a developer. "I would want to make certain that does occur, because I don't want to have that, to have the authority take away the, the rights of the citizens of Tulsa to use that as a park."

Former Mayor Young and his group also argue that Helmerich Park was purchased with money from a 1985 third-penny sales tax. The tax was earmarked specifically for parks.
The group is asking the current council to reverse its decision to sell the land, or face the possibility of legal action. 
2 Works for You reached out to Mayor Bartlett for a comment. His office sent us this statement. 

"In the 20 years since I served as city councilor for District 9, much has changed in our great city and in neighboring communities. Tulsa has grown substantially thanks to the planning and foresight of former city and community leadership. Over the years, there has been a major shift when it comes to regional growth and competition. Competition will not go away as long as every city in the state of Oklahoma must rely on sales taxes to fund essential operations.

I want to thank Jono Helmerich and the entire Helmerich family for their commitment and support for economic development. Jono recently discussed at a public meeting that his father bought the land that is now Helmerich Park to lure development to the Arkansas River. My administration will continue to keep the momentum and progress going in Tulsa as we focus on economic development efforts citywide."

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