www.publicradiotulsa.org

By Matt Trotter

 

The City of Tulsa on Tuesday officially launched a 12-month process to plan the redevelopment of publicly owned land in north Tulsa — land taken from Black and Native communities over the past 100 years.

The city, Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity and Tulsa Development Authority chose Philadelphia-based architecture firm Wallace Robert and Todd to lead the Kirkpatrick Heights/Greenwood Master Plan. Several local firms and an 11-member leadership committee have been tasked with making sure the plan aligns with the community’s wishes.

The plan will focus on three parcels totaling 56 acres that are currently owned by TDA. It is intended to celebrate Black Wall Street while redeveloping the area, making recommendations on land use and improving infrastructure.

“We’ve been talking about this area and what it means for Greenwood and north Tulsa for quite some time, and today … it is so exciting to see that talk move toward action. You can look around and see vacant land for acres. That’s not an accident. That’s based on decisions that were made,” said District 1 Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper.

Hall-Harper said white supremacy and racism cemented in government policy has put the area and its residents decades behind white communities in building wealth.

“My district needs better housing opportunities, retail opportunities, ownership of those opportunities, ownership of development opportunities. My hope is that what comes of this planning process led by the community is something that we can truly say is owned by Greenwood and this development honors her legacy,” Hall-Harper said.

TAEO board member and TDA Vice Chair Ashley Philippsen, who is also a member of the leadership committee, said the master plan will benefit Black Tulsans by ensuring they’re able to own homes and keep businesses open in the redeveloped area.

“North Tulsa is one of the most planned areas in our community, but what I can assure our community members is different is there’s an implementation plan. It’s not going to be a pretty document that sits on a shelf, but we actually have a process that will ensure implementation. It will ensure community benefits from this planning process,” Philippsen said.

More information about the process and upcoming opportunities for input, like public meetings, are available at ourlegacytulsa.org.