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City-Hired Consulting Firm Recommends Creation Of Independent Organization To Manage Downtown Tulsa

Instagram / Downtown Coordinating Council

A consulting firm hired in 2019 by the City of Tulsa to develop a plan for a restructuring of downtown management has recommended the creation of a new, independent entity.

Representatives of Colorado-based Progressive Urban Management Associates, or PUMA, presented their strategic plan at a Tuesday virtual meeting of the Downtown Coordinating Council, a body that currently reports to, but only makes recommendations to, the mayor. Under the consultancy's plan, the DCC would be abolished and replaced.

The plan identifies goals such as responsiveness and accessibility to merchants and other downtown stakeholders as reasons an independent entity would be more effective than the current model.

PUMA also said that they have incorporated more immediate, pandemic-related goals into the longer-term plans, as a result of the COVID crisis hitting in the middle of their work.

"It also has a short-term component: looking at how the proposed downtown organization can partner with the city and other civic partners on economic recovery, because that, of course, is going to be top priority now," said Brad Segal, PUMA's president.

"Tulsa did an amazing job in getting over 3,700 to respond to an online survey, and that's a great way to get folks we can't meet with face to face to provide their input," said Yvette Freeman, a strategist at the firm.

Tulsans will have the opportunity to participate in and make public comment during two public forums next week.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.