What sets Tulsa apart from other cities? A city steeped in a rich history of legacies and legends, Tulsa has an experimental, pioneering spirit allowing it to endure failures as well as successes. Betting on an oil well that might run dry gave Tulsa a unique business character and an optimistic perspective. Tulsans celebrated oil booms and weathered busts as they planned how the city would attain greatness. Legends, oil barons, musicians, artists, philanthropists, left an indelible mark on the city. They secured access to abundant drinking water lasting generations, and peppered the skyline with art deco towers, some of the most beautiful examples of art deco architecture to be found in the United States.
Buildings are just the exterior of a city with a huge heart. The greatness that Tulsa’s founders envisioned and worked toward continues today. Through a 2005 capital investment known as Vision 2025, Tulsa saw the dawn of a dynamic transformation downtown, as well as new beginnings in other districts. The completion of the 19,000-seat BOK Center made Tulsa a destination for the top entertainment acts, as well as major sport venues, such as the BassMaster Classic. Tulsa’s reputation as an entertainment, arts and music hub is growing.
The BOK Center was a bold beginning for an infusion of public and private investment resulting in attractive streetscaping, the award-winning open-space of Centennial Park and the Guthrie Green, and new connections to the 26-mile Riverparks trail system. The Brady Arts District, Pearl District, and Blue Dome District are adding trendy shops and nighttime entertainment in Tulsa, drawing thousands from around the region. Tulsans further fueled the vision in 2016, passing nearly $1 billion in public investment for improved public transit, streets, schools, public safety and economic development projects in a package known as Vision Tulsa. Mayor G.T. Bynum set an aggressive track for implementation, with more than 80 percent of the economic development projects to be under construction or implemented by 2022. (Cityoftulsa.org/vision) Public investment also spurred more than $1 billion private investment in downtown Tulsa, including an arts district that features the Woody Guthrie Museum.
Tulsa is home to the largest collection of western art in the world, and the recently acquired Bob Dylan Archives are housed here and managed by the University of Tulsa. The Tulsa Performing Arts Center attracts the top Broadway musicals, as well as some of the top musical acts and national speakers annually. Local actors also find a stage at the PAC, where students and adults share their talent.
Oklahomans love their land, and Tulsans love their green spaces. It is evident in the popular use of Arkansas River trails that promote health and fitness; the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa’s Brady District where Tulsans gather on the lawn to listen to music and play; the 100-acre, world class Gathering Place that will be Tulsa’s own Central Park for all ages; and the hundreds of City and County-operated parks that unify neighbors and strengthen neighborhoods.
The best attribute part about Tulsa is its people. Tulsa is known as a friendly city that nurtures freedom of expression, supports personal and professional development to keep Tulsans on track for success, to follow their dream and to change the world. In Tulsa, a city full of passion and compassion, we have that ability.