Answers to frequently asked questions about Vision 2025 are posted here. If you have a question you would like answered, please use our contact form by clicking “Contact” at the top of the page.
Why can’t we use Vision 2025 funds to hire more police officers?
Vision 2025 funds are for “capital improvements”, as in building projects designed to last a long time. They cannot be used for operating expenses.
Diversion of public funds is a violation of law. Individuals engaging in such misappropriation go to prison. Vision 2025 was a specific series of ballot questions approved by voters. The projects were not the only infrastructure needs at the time, but the list was proposed and approved in a public election of Tulsa County, hence becoming law.
Tulsa County disperses funds according to law by specific public plan. Some project sponsors are municipalities (Jenks, Sperry, Tulsa, Broken Arrow, etc.), but they do not have the right to redirect funds. In fact, Vision 2025 funds can NOT be used for regular Tulsa County government needs. The Vision 2025 package is very specific.
Why did the new Arena go downtown?
The arena fits downtown with existing public facilities such as the Maxwell Convention Center, hotel, and parking amenities. The official resolution specifies: “Tulsa Regional Convention/Events Center, including modernization, land, design, and Events Center construction.” Together, the facilities offer conventions, trade shows, and event promoters flexibility to execute successful public and private functions at a level never before possible in Tulsa.
Some urged building an arena in the southeast metropolitan area. However, there are high schools, college, and private event centers in that area. Public surveys supported the downtown location and few, if any, ever suggested that Tulsa abandon downtown’s existing infrastructure. While the convention business is not the only business of downtown, it is an important market.
Critics have also urged other downtown locations, but contiguous facilities are most preferred by meeting and event planners and offer the greatest return as a public investment. In addition, both private investment and other Vision 2025 projects are attracting dining and entertainment venues within walking (three to seven blocks) distance. A viable neighborhood is growing downtown and supporting a healthy downtown is an important public priority in every city.
The site adjacent to the current Convention Center was budgeted, and the Vision 2025 allotment took into consideration utilizing shared resources and infrastructure. The topography also works as a natural slope allowing service entrances to be set apart from public entrance ways. Architectural analysis also suggested that the site is the most appropriate for the city. (For example, if located within the East Village, the Arena would so dominate available space as to leave the remainder untenable and would tend not to draw people into the entertainment district, but encourage quick exit out of the growing neighborhood.)
Finally, this site was prominently identified by campaign material, volunteers, and officials during the campaign. To betray those promises would be unconscionable.
Who selected the architect to design the Arena, and why did we not use a Tulsa firm?
There was an extensive qualification process to select the best architectural team to design the new Arena and upgrade the Convention Center. That process included review of written proposals submitted and interviews with the short-listed firms. A design committee and an oversight committee combined to form the interview committee in making the selection and, in total, consisted of over twenty (20) well-respected local leaders including elected officials, their representatives, and private-sector leaders of specific expertise.
After much consideration, a shortlist of four firms was created. All four of those, for the interview committee’s consideration, presented hybrid cooperative efforts inclusive of both local and out-of-state specialty or “star” designer components. After an extensive review, proposal analysis, and unscripted live interview before the committee, the MATRIX / Cesar Pelli / Odell team was selected by the Mayor.
The team is led by MATRIX Architects Engineers Planners, Inc., a Tulsa architecture firm established in 1984. They will be serving as Architect-of-Record, Project Management and Construction Administration. Also significant on the team are the firms Cesar Pelli and Associates of New Haven, Connecticut, as the Design Architect; and Odell Associates of Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Arena Specialist. In addition, other Tulsa firms included on the team are Wallace Engineering; Consynsus; Sisemore, Weisz & Associates and Eslick Design.
For more detail see the BOK Center/Tulsa Regional Convention Center section of this site.