By G.T. BYNUM
Mayor of Tulsa
In November, I was privileged to present the 2019 State of the City address to a record crowd in downtown Tulsa.
The excitement for our city right now is unparalleled and people from around the country are taking notice of what we are doing here in Tulsa. We are creating a globally competitive, world-class city by focusing on making Tulsa a safer city, a city of opportunity and a city of generational empowerment.
We are setting high expectations as a city while helping our neighbors.
For example, in May, when we were hit by an earthquake, tornados, flooding and another tornado all while it was still flooding, you saw what kind of grit, determination and compassion Tulsans have for one another.
You also saw the integrity of our city during the second annual 918 Day, a day that we take every year on Sept. 18 to celebrate our city.
I saw residents and business owners across Tulsa showcasing their business and working to make this the best city it can be. And nothing is more rewarding for me than to be able to welcome new residents.
In 2019, we hosted the city’s first three naturalization ceremonies at City Hall, welcoming people of different backgrounds who decided to travel from their homeland to call Tulsa home.
Not only are our staff, first responders, non-profits and residents making Tulsa a safer and more welcoming city, I’ve seen multiple programs grow in their first years.
More than 1,000 people have taken part in A Better Way, a program designed to help those panhandling connect with needed services and jobs. I’m excited to announce that more than 200 individuals have found jobs through A Better Way.
After its first year in operation, Tulsa Sobering Center, a jail diversion program for public intoxication, is saving officer time and taxpayer money by giving individuals the choice of going to the Sobering Center, where they can connect with services for substance abuse, rather than jail.
As the policing landscape evolves, our community policing program continues to develop as we increase manpower and continue educational opportunities.
Today, we’re seeing the emergence of a new economic renaissance in Tulsa, with companies choosing to extend their operations here. Earlier this year, WPX Energy announced it will build its new headquarters in downtown Tulsa.
We also broke ground on the Gilcrease Expressway, USA BMX and countless others. Just this year, American Airlines announced it will offer an additional 550 jobs at its maintenance base in Tulsa, its largest in the country.
Spirit Aerosystems announced it will invest an additional $80 million into its Tulsa facility and add 250 jobs. And in November, Bus Rapid Transit, the first bus route of its kind in Oklahoma, started connecting Tulsa in a way never seen before.
Route 66 is also being redeveloped, thanks to the Tulsa Route 66 Commission, great businesses and philanthropic support. Businesses across Tulsa are beginning to see the value in historic buildings and are bringing them back to life.
I hope you share my excitement for the path Tulsa is on right now. When we can be the kind of city that works together to achieve our highest aspirations, the state of our city is strong.
To read the complete 2019 State of the City address, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/mayor.