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City Of Tulsa Merging Several Authorities Into 1 Development Entity

Matt Trotter

Over the next several months, the City of Tulsa will merge the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, Tulsa industrial and parking authorities, and the Economic Development Commission into a single entity.

The change was recommended by a consultant after an eight-month study. The yet-to-be-named authority will also provide staffing to and seat trustees from the Tulsa Development Authority, meaning everything from financing assistance to incentives will be under one umbrella. During a presentation to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority, City Chief of Economic Development Kian Kamas said part of the reason for the change is helping new companies gain a foothold.

"If you’re a seasoned developer, if you’ve been through the system a couple of times, you figure out how to work it, but if you’re a new or inexperienced developer, it’s really tough for you to figure out how to navigate things. So, we really feel like creating this single, merged authority will help us eliminate inequities for new or inexperienced developers," Kamas said.

City officials believe the changes will speed up the overall development process as well.

"If you’re a single project and you need access to support for public parking but you also want TIF assistance, right now, you have to go to two separate entities and go through their two entirely separate processes. That adds time," Kamas said.

Consulting firm HR&A conducted an eight-month study before making the recommendations, which the city aims to implement by late this year.

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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