2021 Has Been A Year To Be Remembered
By G.T. BYNUM
Mayor of Tulsa
One year ago, I delivered my State of the City address to a virtual audience. This year in November, I delivered my 2021 State of the City address in person to a crowd I have missed seeing since the start of the pandemic.
As mayor, I get to be a part of incredible teams working to move our community forward, and there hasn’t been a single accomplishment that didn’t involve a lot of Tulsans who worked to make those achievements a reality.
2021 was another year of uphill battles that included dealing with a once-in-a-century pandemic, the effects that pandemic had on employment, civil unrest not seen in 60 years, a polar vortex that threatened lives and the very water system we rely on, and a ransomware attack on our systems that tested our resolve.
I work with 3,500 city employees who represent some of the best public servants in America. This year, these employees worked through sub-zero temperatures to fix waterline breaks, a ransomware attack that affected their ability to conduct regular business duties for a period of time, and a workforce shortage.
Yet through it all ,our employees and residents reminded me that with each successive crises that arose, we have people here who do not get distracted and discouraged. When I look out my office at City Hall today, I see cranes in the sky and an expanding social and business landscape.
Tulsa is enduring a period of historic growth and investment, and though this year has had its share of challenges, it’s never been a more exciting time to serve this city and watch our hard work pay off.
One of the biggest things we did this year was establishing a new mechanism for economic development in Tulsa. We did this by launching the Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO) – a move that merged multiple authorities, boards and commissions to streamline and strengthen how we approach economic development by allowing us to expand our impact by eliminating inefficiencies and increases resources.
We also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, and this summer we completed the first phase of the 1921 Graves Investigation at Oaklawn Cemetery with the archeological exhumation of 19 remains, all of which were processed at the on-site lab and temporarily re-buried while DNA analysis and plans for a permanent burial location continue.
There have been so many amazing things that have happened in Tulsa over the last year. We welcomed our 600th citizen to Tulsa City Hall, we passed a balanced budget, we worked together to distribute COVID-19 relief funds to those who most needed them, we began the largest publicly funded road project in our history with the start of construction on the 81st to 91st Yale Ave. widening project, and much more.
As we continue to build on our successes and face challenges head on, I want to thank everyone who is doing their part to help build the kind of globally competitive, world-class city that we set out to establish when I came into office.