Tulsa Downtown: December 2008 Archives

An e-mail from Tulsa baseball history expert Wayne McCombs led me to this Digital Ballparks feature on Oiler Park, home of Tulsa minor league baseball from 1934 to 1976. It's a sequence of historic photographs accompanied by text setting out the history and highlights of the park and the players who called it home.

Wayne has published two books about Tulsa baseball history: Let's Goooooooo, Tulsa, and Baseball in Tulsa, one of Arcadia Publishing's books of historic photographs. That last link leads to a Google Books preview, where you can digitally rifle through the pages.

On the Digital Ballparks website, I found this feature about Ray Winder Field in Little Rock, which was home to the Arkansas Travelers through 2006. It was a wonderful place to watch a ballgame, as was Durham Athletic Park, former home to the Bulls.

You don't need much to make a classic minor league ballpark. A framework of steel beams, a canopy over the stands, a canopy over the concourse where the concession stands are. It doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

If you want to be fancier, put a brick or concrete facade around the stands, something like Greensboro's War Memorial Stadium, New Haven's Yale Field, or Savannah's Grayson Stadium. (More here about Grayson and talk of replacing it.)

This is what Tulsa will do to City Hall in a year or two and in 20 years or so to the BOK Center and to the new downtown ballpark as well, assuming the current design concept is used:

RCA Dome, 1984-2008, rest in pieces.

Meanwhile, Wrigley Field, age 94, and Fenway Park, age 96, continue to delight fans and players alike.

I was looking for the remaining schedule for Tulsa Ballet's presentation of The Nutcracker, and saw this on the Google search results:

Tulsa Performing Arts Center

This site may harm your computer.

The Nutcracker (Tulsa Ballet-Tulsa). The well-known holiday fairy tale springs to life through the dreams of a child as The Nutcracker and Mouse King battle ...

www.tulsapac.com/ - Similar pages -

Google's Safe Browsing diagnostic site gives the following explanation for the Tulsa PAC website:

What is the current listing status for www.tulsapac.com?

Site is listed as suspicious - visiting this web site may harm your computer.

Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 1 time(s) over the past 90 days.

What happened when Google visited this site?

Of the 26 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 2 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2008-12-15, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2008-12-13.

Malicious software includes 2 scripting exploit(s), 1 trojan(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 4 new processes on the target machine.

Malicious software is hosted on 4 domain(s), including 17gamo.com/, dbios.org/, yrwap.cn/.

1 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including yrwap.cn/.

This site was hosted on 1 network(s) including AS40139 (JACKSON).

Has this site acted as an intermediary resulting in further distribution of malware?

Over the past 90 days, www.tulsapac.com did not appear to function as an intermediary for the infection of any sites.

Has this site hosted malware?

No, this site has not hosted malicious software over the past 90 days.

How did this happen?

In some cases, third parties can add malicious code to legitimate sites, which would cause us to show the warning message.

Google advises, "If you are the owner of this web site, you can request a review of your site using Google Webmaster Tools. More information about the review process is available in Google's Webmaster Help Center."

(BatesLine is clean, by the way.)

Championship city

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Two Tulsa teams competed tonight for the Class 6A football championship. Union beat Jenks 34-20 at Lewis* Field in Stillwater, their first time ever to beat Jenks twice in the same season. I was surprised they didn't play the championship at Skelly* Stadium, but I suppose they needed to get Skelly ready for tomorrow's Conference USA championship game between TU and East Carolina.

Tomorrow there will be three state championship games played in metropolitan Tulsa, all kicking off at 1:30: Carl Albert vs. Booker T. Washington in Sand Springs (5A), Glenpool vs. OKC Bishop McGuinness in Broken Arrow (4A), and Cascia Hall vs. Claremore Sequoyah in Bixby (3A). Tulsa's Lincoln Christian plays in Ponca City at the same time against Oklahoma City's Heritage Hall, as two private schools compete for a slot in the Class 2A final against either Chandler or Kingfisher.

(Carl Albert vs. Booker T. Washington is not a Pythonesque battle of historical re-enactors, but a football game between the high school of the Mid-Del school district -- Midwest City and Del City -- and one of Tulsa's high schools.)

And if all that isn't enough sports action for one Saturday, the TulsaNow Spontaneous Softball Invitational will take place on the future location of Driller Stadium -- near Archer and Greenwood downtown -- tomorrow morning at 10:30 am. This may be the first outdoor ballgame of any sort downtown since the days of McNulty Park. You're welcome to come and play, or just cheer the players on.

Inside baseball

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A surprising item in today's Whirled:

The Tulsa Stadium Trust received only one bid Monday to construct a nearly $40 million downtown baseball stadium and no bids to finance $25 million of its cost.

The construction bid came from Tulsa Stadium Construction Co. LLC, which guarantees that it will build the ballpark for no more than $39.2 million at specifications outlined by the trust.

Phil Lakin, the construction company's manager, submitted the bid.

Lakin also is executive director of the Tulsa Community Foundation, a tax-exempt, public charity created by George Kaiser and other philanthropists in 1998 to receive, protect and distribute gifts from individuals and organizations for the improvement of Tulsa and eastern Oklahoma. Kaiser is not a foundation board member.

The bid also included a statement that no conflicts of interest exist between the construction company and the stadium trust that would interfere in any way with fair competition in the bid- selection process.

The Bank of Oklahoma is a major donor of private funds to the project. Kaiser is chairman of the BOK Financial Corp., and Stan Lybarger, president of Bank of Oklahoma, is the stadium trust's chairman.

The trust is overseeing a $60 million project that includes construction of a 6,200-seat stadium to house the city's Double-A baseball team, the Tulsa Drillers, and the acquisition of adjacent properties for mixed-use development.

Fascinating. I knew Phil Lakin was an accomplished gentleman, but I never knew he was in construction. Here's what Guidestar says about Phil Lakin, on its page about Tulsa Community Foundation:

Phil Lakin, Jr., is the first executive director of TCF. He returned to his hometown with eight years of development experience from his alma mater, Baylor University, where he served as regional director of development and managed the Dallas/Ft. Worth office. Earlier, he had worked as a consultant with Andersen Consulting. Phil earned his BBA and MBA from Baylor, and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. He is married and has three sons.

The Whirled story leaves out some information about TCF that might have undermined the claim that no conflict of interest exists. There is certainly the appearance of a conflict. While George Kaiser is not on the board of TCF, Ken Levit, the executive director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, is. More significantly, Stan Lybarger, CEO and President of the Bank of Oklahoma, and Steve Bradshaw, Sr. Executive VP of the Bank of Oklahoma, are both board members of TCF. Lybarger, as the story notes, is also the chairman of the Tulsa Stadium Trust.

Several questions spring to mind:

1. When was the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued?

2. Where was the RFP posted? On the internet? On the City Hall bulletin board? Hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar on the porch of Funk and Wagnalls?

3. How was the RFP advertised? Were ads placed in national publications and websites that are used to advertise municipal construction projects to prospective contractors? Were contractors for recent ballpark construction in other cities contacted and encouraged to submit bids? Was an active effort made to solicit the best possible deal for Tulsa?

4. Even if the RFP was widely advertised, were prospective bidders deterred by the appearance of a conflict of interest, that Mr. Lakin's firm was almost certain to get the job because of his connections with Tulsa Stadium Trust members and donors? Putting together a proposal can be very pricey, and a company will no-bid a job if it sees little chance of recouping its investment in developing a proposal.

5. Who are the principals and members of Tulsa Stadium Construction Co. LLC?

This is a public project, and most of the funding is being extracted from downtown property owners by force of law. It's called an assessment, but for all practical purposes, it's a tax, and the tax revenue is being handled by a public trust of the City of Tulsa. The public deserves full and open competition, with not even the appearance of a conflict of interest, for such an important civic asset. The people of Tulsa, especially the downtown property owners, deserve answers to these questions.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa Downtown category from December 2008.

Tulsa Downtown: November 2008 is the previous archive.

Tulsa Downtown: January 2009 is the next archive.

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