|Updated: 1/31/2012 6:47 pm
||Published: 1/31/2012 6:27 pm
The City of Tulsa is now planning ahead for its future with a more complete development strategy than it's had in decades.
Back in the summer of 2010, the PLANiTULSA comprehensive plan was laid out. In December, the city's new Director of Planning and Economic Development, Dawn Warrick, joined the ranks and hit the ground running.
One of the early areas of focus will be on creating what are known as "small area plans" for three sections of Tulsa. Essentially, small area plans are a tool to focus the city's overall growth plans through PLANiTULSA into small sections of the city with big growth potential. Often, planners will look at what already exists in the area, identify what they want to bring to the area, and then figure in logistical and infrastructure needs.
The first three small area plans Warrick will focus on are the area of S. Utica between 11th Street and 21st Street, the area along Highway 75 between 51st Street and 91st Street, and the area around 36th Street N. and N. Cincinnati. And the latter is at the top of the list.
People who live around 36th Street N. and N. Cincinnati say it's about time the city focused on developing their area.
From grocery stores to restaurants to day care facilities, there's no shortage of ideas for development in North Tulsa.
"To tell you the truth, a QT or either a staff agency for people that can't go out in surrounding areas," North Tulsa resident Joey Jackson said. "Like a Pinpoint Personnel or something right here in the area where people can get better jobs, and they don't have to go too far to go."
But those ideas are likely still years away from becoming reality. The purpose of small area plans is essentially to create a realistic and attainable goal of how the area should be developed. But that takes time.
"They give guidance and they make recommendations for next steps," Warrick said.
The approach for each of the first three small area plans in Tulsa will likely be different, Warrick says. For instance, Highway 75 between 51st and 91st Streets has experienced tremendous growth the past few years.
"We anticipate additional growth," Warrick said. "Where do we want to funnel that growth? What's the most appropriate placement for it? And then how do we best serve it with infrastructure?"
Utica between 11th and 21st Streets, on the other hand, has little room for more growth, so other changes may be necessary.
"Transportation may kind of become a highlight in the Utica corridor," Warrick said. "Economic development's more likely to be a highlight in the North Tulsa corridor."
"I know that Councilor [Jack] Henderson's vision is that 36th Street N. becomes more of an economic driver. And that there are ties into medical facilities, and other types of community-serving."
While he may not see a new Wal Mart or QuikTrip any time soon, Jackson is just thrilled the city is making ti a priority to focus on growth in areas that need it most.
"I think it's a good start," he said. "And it will help a lot of people out. And they can see a change."
Creating small area plans is a long process because so much research is needed. Because of that, it's likely that Tulsans won't see any of the fruits of the small area plan for roughly 18 months.
However, beginning in early March the city's Planning Department will hold neighborhood meetings in each of the small area plan corridors to get input on what people in those areas would like to see out of future development.