County Commissioners Review Progress of Vision 2025
PROGRESS REPORT: County Commissioner Fred Perry, left, Deputy to Randi Miller Terry Simonson and former Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune were in attendance at a media event to discuss the progress of various Vision 2025 projects. LaFortune was mayor at the time Vision 2025 was passed. For more information on Vision 2025 projects, visit www.vision2025.info.
GTR Newspapers photo
Almost five years in, Vision 2025 is already having a huge impact on Tulsa and its economy.
In information released at the end of February, the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s Economic Development department estimates that Vision 2025 has directly employed 4,530 since inception. Another 3,270 have been employed indirectly because of the project. Likewise, The Chamber estimates well over $143 million has been generated as income in relation to Vision 2025 and another $331 million has been the direct output. Including indirect numbers, Vision 2025 has put $252,808,826 into the pockets of hard-working Tulsans employed as a result of the project and $619,161,406 has been contributed into the local economy.
“In 2003 the Tulsa region was experiencing a period of great job loss,” Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller writes in a statement released by the Board of County Commissioners. “National and local economic conditions had forced many Tulsa based companies to either relocate, downsize or close. As a result, the region lost an estimated 25,000 jobs. These job loses also saw an impact on the Tulsa economy, which affected local governments’ abilities to fund basic services, improve infrastructure, educational needs and health care demands.
“Tulsa county citizens met this challenge head-on with the passage of Vision 2025 that impacted 10 municipalities, five colleges and universities, 12 school districts, three health care centers, miles of road and park improvements and improvements to Expo Square, the Convention Center and of course the new arena.”
Vision 2025 was approved in September 2003 by a 60+ percent margin of voters and is a 13-year project to fund $530 million in projects and to provide $5 for annual rebates to senior citizens. Funding comes from a 6/10ths percent county-wide sales tax. This tax went into effect January 2004.
“Today, thousands of jobs and millions of dollars have been added to the Tulsa County economy and the quality of life in every city in Tulsa County is better thanks to Vision 2025,” writes Miller.
In another written statement released, Commissioner Fred Perry focused on the educational benefits already being seen across the county as a result of Vision 2025.
“I had the pleasure of attending the ribbon cutting for the Health Sciences and Biotechnology Learning Center at the Southeast Campus of Tulsa Community College,” writes Perry. “It was financed largely by Vision 2025 dollars. In addition to disciplines mentioned, the facility is helping TCC educate many more nurses to help alleviate the shortage in the nursing profession.
“One of the things that struck me was the private money that the project attracted. There were labs sponsored by various donors and lots of artwork scattered throughout the building that was also gifted to TCC. It would be interesting to know just how many private dollars were donated as a result of Vision 2025. Experience has taught us that when the taxpayers contribute, many philanthropic individuals will also.”
Another notable project funded by Vision 2025 is the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Schusterman Center Clinic, which was financed 85 percent by Vision 2025 funds. The Schusterman Center Clinic is a 100,000 square foot facility that offers the following services to the Tulsa community: obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, internal medicine, geriatrics, surgery, radiology, psychiatry, psychiatric outreach, cancer and diabetes care.
“(At the ribbon cutting), I heard Dr. Gerald Clancy talk about the dozens of physicians and scores of technicians who were already working or scheduled to work at the facility,” writes Perry. “But more important than the positive economic impact is the human benefit that facility is providing and will provide for years into the future. Many of the cancer patients have no insurance, resulting in millions of dollars in uncompensated care. As with the Morton Clinic in North Tulsa, we’ve learned that it’s not just about jobs, but the relief of suffering and healthier lives.”
At the Tulsa campus of Oklahoma State University, Vision 2025 monies helped fund the Helmerich Advanced Technological Research Center.
“That too is an impressive building, which will house labs, offices and classrooms,” writes Perry. “Twenty-five engineers and 20 support personnel will be employed there when fully staffed, serving 100 scientific and engineering graduate students.
“NSU at Broken Arrow is yet another example of a great higher education Vision 2025 project.”
Other Vision 2025 projects benefit neighborhoods, recreation, flood control and tourism.
For complete details on completed, ongoing or future Vision
2025 projects, visit www.vision2025.info.