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Tulsa awarded $900k to promote housing, commercial districts on abandoned properties

Underutilized building Tulsa
Posted at 4:44 PM, May 30, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa has received $900,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund program. It's to promote more housing and commercial districts in the city.

The USA BMX facility, BOK Center, and Guthrie Green are just some examples of properties affiliated with the Brownfield loan program in the past. They were all projects the EPA says "promote economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development."

Now they're after properties, or brownfields, that are abandoned and underutilized due to environmental contamination.

April Melton, of Tulsa says she sees them every day.

"A lot of homes, like down by Owen Park, are condemned," Melton said. "They can be remodeled."

Adjacent to the USA BMX is a clear example of a brownfield. There is a giant, dilapidated warehouse next store, not in use. It's a warehouse that can be new housing or a commercial district.

Mayor GT Bynum says Tulsa developers have leveraged EPA's Brownfield program since 2013, and it's reshaped downtown Tulsa. He's hopeful the supplemental funding builds on "the vibrancy of the city."

But Melton, having lived at the Salvation Army for a few years, believes the money should be utilized differently.

"It's not just affordable housing. They need mental housing help up here," she said. "There's a lot of unstable people that need some people to help them."

The city and Partner Tulsaare asking the community where they think the funds can best be utilized. More information about requests for proposals can be found here.

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