By Eagle Newswire
Immediately following the passage of Vision Tulsa in 2016, USA BMX confirmed they would relocate their headquarters, national track stadium and Hall of Fame Museum to Tulsa from Arizona – making Tulsa the national home of an Olympic sport. USA BMX and the City of Tulsa expect to break ground on the facility and track this fall with construction to be completed in 2021.
To this end, the City of Tulsa and USA BMX have identified multiple funding opportunities to bring the facility to the Historic Greenwood District and serve as a catalytic addition to Tulsa’s sports and tourism communities; while ensuring USA BMX has a home worthy of their sport and the growing enthusiasm for cycling in Tulsa and across the nation. USA BMX is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors in the first five years.
“You only get one shot at building an Olympic-caliber training and trials center, so it is important that we take our time and do it the right way,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “The citizens of Tulsa are making a significant investment in this facility, and we appreciate the support of private donors like the Hardesty Family Foundation who are helping us build an attraction that will stand the test of time. Once completed, this site will be an attraction that helps catalyze the revitalization of the Historic Greenwood District.”
The Vision Tulsa proposal planned for the relocation of the USA BMX facilities at the Tulsa Fairgrounds, but a new location had to be identified. In July 2017, the City of Tulsa and USA BMX announced that they would construct USA BMX’s headquarters, national track stadium and Hall of Fame Museum at the Evans Fintube site.
Although the new site posed different challenges than the Fairgrounds, the City, USA BMX, and the Hardesty Family Foundation have worked together over the past year to address project costs that were not fully covered by Vision Tulsa, such as parking, public utilities, site preparation and rising material and construction costs.
“USA BMX has been bringing the sport of BMX Racing to Tulsa for 20 years, and we are incredibly grateful to the Tulsa community for their support in making the vision of our new headquarters a reality,” said USA BMX CEO, B.A. Anderson. “Working with Mayor Bynum and the Hardesty Family Foundation for funding on this project ensures that we will build a world-class facility that will attract the best athletes in the world and continue to grow the great sport of BMX Racing for many generations.”
For parking, the City will seek a partnership with the Tulsa Parking Authority to construct the surface parking lot with 294 parking spaces anticipated as a part of this project. The Tulsa Parking Authority would own the parking lot and serve as a key partner in the future development of the site.
Funding for the public infrastructure and site preparation, which will provide the water, sewer, stormwater and other public utility costs, as well as demolition of the Fintube building, will be provided by the Economic Development Infrastructure Fund for $900,000.
“These additional commitments will allow USA BMX to be a truly transformative project that will contribute to the growth we need in District 1,” City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper said. “It is time we go to work and bring this Olympic sport and its national audience to the Historic Greenwood District.”
The City has identified an additional $3.6 million in Vision Tulsa funding which will be reallocated from the University Center at Tulsa/OSU-Tulsa to USA BMX for project costs by initiating a Brown Ordinance process. This funding was identified as the circumstances around the University Center at Tulsa/OSU-Tulsa project changed substantially as the land has shifted ownership. The City still intends to relocate the Salvation Army as the land is developed and anticipates additional funding will become available during the development process of the land. The Tulsa City Council will hold hearings on this funding reallocation.
“It is important for the future development of our city to see this project through as the citizens of Tulsa envisioned it. I fully support holding public hearings for the Brown Ordinance reallocation that will provide the needed funding to make this project a success,” Tulsa City Council Chairman Phil Lakin said.
USA BMX, through the generous support of the Hardesty Family Foundation, has committed an additional $1.5 million to be donated to the project contingent upon the City formalizing its additional funding contributions.
“The Hardesty Family Foundation is thrilled to partner with the City of Tulsa and USA BMX to bring a sport that is growing so rapidly in popularity,” said Michelle Hardesty, Executive Director of the Hardesty Family Foundation. “This public/private partnership will strengthen the cycling culture and have a major positive economic impact on our community. It is going to put us on the map as a hub for racing and training.”