Where should we put the Indian?


Leave it to the Whirled editorial writers to turn positive news into a chance to invent a City Council argument where none exists, so they can criticize "petty disputes". But then, you have to remember that the Whirled considers any debate of any issue -- no matter how calm and reasoned -- as unnecessary, because the Councilors should unanimously support anything the Whirled proposes. Anyone who dissents from the Whirled's views is unreasonable and contentious.

The proposal to build a 200 foot tall bronze of an Indian and an eagle is an exciting one. For people in the rest of the country and the rest of the world, the mention of Tulsa would no longer draw a blank. "Oh yeah, that's where the big Indian statue is!"

Where it goes is very important, both in terms of visual impact and impact on Tulsa's tourism possibilities. The Council ought to be having this discussion, and making their best cases for their preferred locations.

If the statue is too close to a major through highway, visitors will be satisfied to have a look as they zoom past. "Look, kids, there it is." "Wow, what a big Indian! Can we stop?" "No, we're making great time -- at this rate we'll be in Oklahoma City in time for dinner. " That lets out anything within a mile or so of I-44, I-244, or the Creek Turnpike.

There's also the question of visual impact. It needs to be at the top of a hill, and it shouldn't be too close to anything nearly as tall or taller. That lets out anywhere near downtown. It also would eliminate another proposed location near the KVOO transmitters on old Route 66 in east Tulsa. (And near downtown finding forty acres could be tricky, unless the city takes back land that is already promised to OSU Tulsa. Or else the City condemns a neighborhood.)

The more I think about it, the more sense the proposed Osage County site makes. It's not completely remote, but it requires getting off the main road. The statue would dominate its surroundings, as it should. The location could encourage development to the northwest. It would be visible from Gilcrease Museum, encouraging tourists to visit to that world-class facility. It would boost the botanical garden planned for nearby. It increases the odds that visitors to the statue will stay long enough to spend some money.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 13, 2004 8:23 AM.

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