Funding questions about downtown Tulsa

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 12/11/2013 6:35 pm Published: 12/11/2013 4:54 pm

There is a plan to extend 5th Street from Denver to Frisco using leftover money from the Fix Our Streets bond package from 2008.

FOX23 found most people were excited about the plan, at first.

"That seems like a pretty good idea," said Jamayka Britton.

But the more she thought about it, the more she thought the $5 million could have fixed a street that affects more people.

"I live out north and the streets are pretty bad, and I think they need some development, too." She said.

Tulsan David Phillips thinks the project will boost tourism in the area and be a better investment for tax money.

"The proximity to the BOK Center, it makes this an important area," he said.

City engineer Paul Zachary said there wasn't really a choice.

"It was actually a contractual obligation that we had," he said.

It was in a contract the city signed with Aloft Hotel when it bought the old City Hall building to get guests closer to the front door.

It also gives fire trucks easier access to the hotel if there were a fire.

Some wonder how there's money left over from Fix Our Streets, anyway.

"With the economy slowing down, the contractors' prices, everything, also depressed. And we ended up having savings on many of our jobs, even to the ... 60 cents on the dollar we were getting some of these projects," said Zachary.

He said after all the projects on the Fix Our Streets list voters approved were funded, the city could look to its backup list of projects to spend the surplus on, like the 5th Street extension, which the City Council approved as part of that contract with Aloft.

Aloft is doing its part in the contract with the city, as well. Aside from paying to transform an empty building into a business that brings sales and tourism taxes to the city, the developers also paid the costs to design the 5th Street extension.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 12/11/2013 8:48 PM
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Sounds like a true waste of funds. What the city NEEDS to do is move all occupants out of the Salvation Army and the day center restructure those areas to house the courts and reduce their need for transportation of inmates from jail to court. Be a big savings. Especially since fuel jumped thirteen cents today :-)
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