Months Away, Yet Baseball is in the Air

PLAY BALL: Tulsa Drillers President Chuck Lamson photographed here at the ONEOK Field Groundbreaking ceremony.

DANIEL C. CAMERON for GTR Newspapers

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor and other city leaders joined ONEOK, Inc. in announcing that the new downtown Tulsa baseball stadium will be named “ONEOK Field” during a Jan. 12 ceremony.

Slated to be completed before the 2010 baseball season, ONEOK Field will be located directly west of the historic Greenwood District and will be adjacent to the Brady and Blue Dome entertainment districts.

ONEOK and the ONEOK Foundation, as major donors to the project, pledged $5 million and obtained the 20-year naming rights to the baseball park that will be the future home of the Tulsa Drillers, the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball team.

“With this investment, we are reinforcing our strong commitment to Tulsa and its downtown,” said John W. Gibson, chief executive officer of ONEOK.

“A vibrant downtown is key to our ability to attract and retain the employees we need today and in the future to continue our company’s success. Last year, we acquired ONEOK Plaza, our downtown office building, and now, with the new baseball field, we can help with the continued redevelopment of downtown Tulsa and the revitalization of the historic Greenwood District.

“This was an easy decision for us,” said Gibson. “We take great pride in the city in which we’re headquartered. We have been located in downtown Tulsa since 1926 and at our current location since 1984.”

The $60 million ballpark project, which includes construction of the stadium for the Tulsa Drillers baseball team and the acquisition of the surrounding land for mixed-use redevelopment, will be owned by a public trust. The Tulsa Stadium Trust will oversee the financing, construction and redevelopment of the area around it. The city of Tulsa is the trust’s only beneficiary.

Construction of ONEOK Field and the redevelopment of the surrounding area began in December 2008 and are being funded through $30 million in private donations, $25 million in fees that would be generated over 30 years from a downtown property assessment district, and $5 million from the Drillers’ lease.
The naming rights announcement was made at the city’s Greenwood Cultural Center, adjacent to the new ballpark. In addition to Gibson and Taylor, others participating in the naming rights announcement ceremony included Reuben Gant, chairman of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce; Chuck Lamson, president of the Tulsa Drillers; and Stanley Lybarger, chairman of the Tulsa Stadium Trust.

Updated 02-02-2009

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