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City on Track to Approve Special Taxing District to Benefit North Tulsa

Matt Trotter

The City of Tulsa could soon adopt a new special taxing district that benefits residents directly rather than a developer or company.

The plan calls for four distinct tax increment financing, or TIF, districts at the Peoria Mohawk Business Park, with one encompassing Muncie Power Products truck part plant to be activated immediately. Officials estimate the TIFs will bring in $42.6 million over the next 25 to 35 years.

Nearly $35 million would go toward housing in surrounding neighborhoods in the form of things like developer and homebuyer assistance and home repair grants. Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper represents the area and said the latter is especially important because many homes are inherited, but the new owners can’t secure loans for upkeep.

"And so you have a situation where homes deteriorate over time, and that’s what we are experiencing, I think, in several places throughout the city but certainly in north Tulsa. And so, this is a conversation and an issue that has come up and that we’ve been discussing at my District 1 housing committee meetings, for example, for several years," Hall-Harper said.

About one-third of the more than 5,000 residential parcels in the defined project area are rated as below average condition.

From the remaining funding, $1.8 million would go toward establishing the Flat Rock Creek Urban Wilderness Area

"So, this is land already owned by the city. The councilor’s been working hard with some other organizations about the design and the enhancements that could happen to make this really an outdoor recreation area within an urban setting that really could become a destination for even people beyond just the immediate neighborhood. We see that as a fantastic amenity," said City Director of Economic Development Jim Coles.

The other $4.2 million would go to Tulsa Public Schools’ Hawthorne and Whitman elementaries. The city has a 10% commitment for other TIF district funding to go to the district, but it's not earmarked for specific schools.

"So, we would work with them to invest even more on the education side to help bring upward the elementary education quality," Coles said.

TIF districts set aside property tax revenues above a base value within their boundaries for specific projects. The plan formally goes to the city council later this month and could be signed by Mayor G.T. Bynum around Thanksgiving.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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