City of Tulsa Wants to Help Route 66 Developers

Feb 17, 2017

Old gas stations can have soil or groundwater contamination.
Credit KWGS News

Developers looking to get in on Tulsa’s revitalization of Route 66 can apply for loans to help with environmentally problematic sites.

The city received $1.1 million from the EPA for a revolving loan fund. Money can be loaned out to help clean up things like old gas stations. Michelle Barnett oversees the city brownfields program and said funding can be used for more than soil and groundwater issues common to old service stations.

"Let's say there's an old hotel and they want to refurbish that hotel, and it has asbestos issues or old, lead-based paint inside. They can apply to the City of Tulsa's brownfields revolving loan program to get money to address that aspect," Barnett said.

Brownfield sites' environmental issues are often expensive to clean up, which can deter developers not able to commit the additional funding needed.

"This is one of those tools that we can use to help bridge over that barrier," Barnett said.

Barnett visited the Tulsa Route 66 Commission this week and encouraged them to send potential developers her way.

The city has loaned roughly $600,000 from the revolving fund already.

The BOK Center, ONEOK Field, Guthrie Green, the One Place office building and the Mayo Hotel are all former brownfield sites.