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Tulsa Route 66 Commission Plans $1.5M Ask For American Rescue Plan Funding From City

Matt Trotter

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission plans to take a $1.5 million request for American Rescue Plan funds to the mayor and city council next week.

The virus relief money can be used to support industries that saw business drop during pandemic.

The commission has a few ideas for using the money to help boost tourism, including signs marking the route and color-coded to designated Route 66 districts. Commission Chair Ken Busby said they want to install them every one-quarter to one-third of a mile along Tulsa’s 28-mile stretch, covering both the Admiral Place and 11th Street alignments.

"One of the challenges we hear not just in Tulsa and Oklahoma but just people traveling the Mother Road is how easy it is to get lost, or it's like if there's a detour or if something happens. And then travelers really want to make sure they're on the original alignments," Busby said.

Another thing the Route 66 commission would like to spend relief money on is a parking lot in the Meadow Gold District to help 11th Street businesses bring in customers.

"There is not a good public parking access lot anywhere between, specifically, between Peoria and Utica. So, we're trying to identify a place, some land that might be vacant that we could acquire and put a parking lot there. Hoping to accommodate, you know, 35, 40, maybe 50 cars," Busby said.

The last potential project is creating a place for people to pull off the road and take pictures of the Route 66 Rising sculpture at Admiral and Mingo. Busby said they know it’s popular based on the number photos of it on social media.

"But we do see some complaints that there's no good place to stop and get that photo. And so, people are, like, stopping in a lane and taking it, and then there's traffic issues. So, it was like, 'What can we do to make it a little safer and still get people that great photo op?' So, we think we found a solution," Busby said.

The City of Tulsa got almost $88 million from the American Rescue Plan.

Tulsa County has already allocated some of its funding from the relief package to a direct flight revenue guarantee fund and a tourism media buy.

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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