Stadium trust on tonight's Council agenda

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I've been seeing e-mail traffic urging people to show up at tonight's City Council meeting in support of the Tulsa Stadium Trust. I understand that Bank of Oklahoma and other downtown employers are trying to pack the council chambers tonight. Those who show up should remember that the vote isn't about building a ballpark, it's about authorizing a public trust. I support putting the ballpark downtown, but I'm concerned what powers and scope of action this trust will have.

While the trust indenture has been improved significantly, there are still objectionable features, and there still appears to be some confusion, even among the trust's promoters, about what this trust will be authorized to do.

I am happy to see the the trust limited in its acquisitions to a geographical area, but the area (Detroit Ave., BNSF right of way, I-244) is too broad, and there is still the possibility of pressuring the City Council to allow them to make acquisitions outside that area. As I wrote previously:

Any stadium trust should be limited in the indenture to improvements to blocks 23, 24, and 45, and lots 4, 5, and 6 of block 46 of Tulsa's Original Townsite -- the area between I-244 and Archer, Elgin and the buildings on the west side of Greenwood which survived urban renewal.

There shouldn't be an escape clause. There should also be explicit language in the indenture forbidding the use of eminent domain to acquire property for the trust.

Here's the version of the Tulsa Stadium Trust indenture showing markups made following Tuesday's Council committee meeting:

2008-08-21 Trust Indenture (v39) (Marked).pdf

Here's the same version, but without the markups visible:

2008-08-21 Trust Indenture (v39).pdf

At Tuesday's council committee meeting, trust promoter Fred Dorwart claimed that the trust wouldn't just be building a ballpark:

Fred Dorwart, an attorney for the donors, said the trust also is charged with providing services within the Inner Dispersal Loop such as street cleaning. A portion of the downtown assessment fee helps fund the ballpark, and the rest pays for downtown services, he said.

(You can hear audio of an exchange between Bill Martinson and Fred Dorwart on Chris Medlock's Tuesday afternoon show, within the first 20 minutes of the first hour.)

I've looked through the trust indenture, and I can't find any reference to that in Article III -- Purpose and Powers of the Trust (or anywhere else). If that's true, it opens the door to replace the city's year-to-year contract with Downtown Tulsa Unlimited for downtown services -- which seems on the verge of being opened to competition -- with a trust's multiyear contract with Downtown Tulsa Unlimited.

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1 Comments

webworm Author Profile Page said:

I read this via American Thinker, in a blog having to do with the housing mess in Chicago......see Obama.....but it applies to our baseball downtown mess...

"Look out. When liberals start talking about creating trust funds, you can be sure they'll be doing it with your money. Taxes."

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 11, 2008 12:13 PM.

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