State of the City: Tulsa Stays Strong and Resilient
By G.T. BYNUM
Mayor of Tulsa
When you think about everything Tulsa has been through this year and everything our families have been through, it would be easy to write this year off. Yet, here we stand, still moving forward and thinking about how we can continue to build a globally competitive, world-class city.
In the face of monumental challenges, a budget crises and a national recession we haven’t seen in our lifetimes, the resilience of every Tulsan continues to shine through.
In November, I gave my annual State of the City address, albeit virtually due to the pandemic. I focused on our challenges, our resilience and our continued effort to create the kind of city we want to leave to the next generation of Tulsans.
Out of all the things that have stood out to me in 2020, below are a few that come to mind:
We’ve grown more resilient in our fight against COVID-19 and the loss of one of our own. I’m humbled by the togetherness I’ve seen from so many people this year. From the loss of TPD’s Sgt. Johnson, to the incredible story of Officer Zarkeshan who survived that same shooting, Tulsans have banded together in the face of tragedy. As we seek to make Tulsa a more resilient city for everyone through our Resilient Tulsa Strategy, the resilience Tulsans are showing this year has been nothing short of extraordinary.
We’ve focused on bridging the life expectancy gap, bringing City resources together to provide better access to transportation, jobs, fresh groceries and more. Throughout my time as mayor, we’ve attracted over $1 billion in private investment into North Tulsa, at the same time partnering with job training experts across Tulsa to make sure people living in these areas benefit from the jobs created there.
We continue to work to right wrongs from nearly 100 years ago from the Tulsa Race Massacre. This year, we’ve dug twice at Oaklawn Cemetery, the second time in October when we found a grave shaft consistent with a mass grave with at least 11 coffins located inside. Our work to uncover what happened in 1921 continues, no matter where the truth may lead us.
We’ve proved we’re a global contender. Over the summer, our economic development team worked to bring Tesla’s new Cybertruck Gigafactory to our city. Out of all the cities Tesla could have picked as their final choices for a factory, they picked Tulsa. Though Tesla ultimately chose Austin, Tulsa was put in the national spotlight and proved once again we deserve a look and have the talent pool to fill quality jobs – a testament to our vision and skilled workforce!
And though this small snapshot of 2020 doesn’t touch the surface of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year against all odds, it paints a very well-defined picture. Great challenges and hard days lie ahead, but our resilience continues to propel us in the right direction. The state of our city is strong, and will continue to remain strong.