Tulsans Predict a Positive Year

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Tulsa has become a successful and lively community that boasts both previous accomplishments and future plans. Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools Dr. Keith Ballard, County Commissioner Karen Keith and Special Events Coordinator for Tulsa Parks Bob Hendrick look forward to the possibilities that the New Year will bring.

Over the last year, a variety of steps were taken to ensure that the area would continue to increase in momentum. New businesses offering shopping and dining options paired with exciting and educational events have made Tulsa a destination for frequent outings.

The historic Mayo Hotel, located in the downtown area, was reopened and restored to its original 1920’s charm. The Tulsa Convention Center Ballrooom was completed, becoming the largest ballroom in the state of Oklahoma.

The Women’s National Basketball Association Detroit team announced it would move to Tulsa and make its home in the innovative Center.

There are currently 60,000 acres of parks in the Tulsa area and all of them will be holding events or adding features this year. “Tulsa Parks will be opening three new Splash Pads as well as our Mohawk Skate Park and Mohawk Soccer Complex,” exclaims Hendrick.

The Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education is currently developing a new five-year strategic plan that will re-emphasize the district’s mission and core goals. Ballard says, “Tulsa Public Schools will see an even stronger focus on strategies and programs that prepare all students for success after graduation whether they choose to go to college, trade school or straight into the workforce.”

One of the most important events in the New Year for Tulsa Public Schools will be the $354 million bond issue that will be up for consideration March 2. “The proposal, which builds on a 20-year plan developed by a citizens’ bond committee in 1996, includes $261 million to help repair facilities, which have an average age of 51 years. Students will directly benefit from $61 million in textbooks, learning materials and technology. Bond issues are how schools remain on the cutting edge, and how cities attract businesses and families,” explains Ballard.

Changes in the government are also expected. One of the most important goals that Keith has is to find efficiencies between the city and county governments. “In difficult economic times, we have the opportunity to make long term changes that will make government more effective and less costly.”

Keith also hopes to reevaluate and add additional routes such as the Gilcrease Expressway to the state highway. “The success of this initiative is critical to economic development for the area.”

Updated 01-25-2010

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