Sometimes it seems that different sectors of the economy out of synch with each other. The energy industry has gone down the tubes (although indications are that a recovery is in progress) and the building industry in Tulsa is booming. Looking out a window at work there are three different projects going on. The closest one is a new hotel going up. There are several hotels going up downtown now.
And then if you follow the street alongside the hotel you can see that they are extending the street to the high rise on the right. That is our former city hall that has been converted to a hotel. Part of the deal with the hotel to meet code is that they needed a street going to it because the city likes hotels to have two streets for firetrucks and such to use. It is a pretty expensive road project because it is on top of a parking garage.
And then just this side and to the right of the hotel is on lazy $50 million renovation of our Central Library. From what I can tell they are going to store most of the books off site and put in lots more computers. I’m sorry but I think what they are doing is turning our library into an internet cafe for the homeless, methheads, and K2 addicts. Also, the library’s director hornswaggled the board of the library into giving him a paid four month leave of absence to get his PhD. The guy makes over $170,000 per year plus a $450 a month car allowance, plus, plus, plus. He makes more than the Governor of Oklahoma! Do you really need a library director who is gone for four months? Poor use of taxpayer funds I think.
Oops, I digress, what is happening where you live?
At lunch yesterday I took advantage of the perfect sunny cool weather and put on my big funny looking high spf hat and took a stroll over to the east side of downtown to see what was happening. It has been a long cold winter and I hadn’t been exploring as much as what I usually do.
The east side is booming with condo construction. Both new and conversions. Downtown Tulsa is now a cool place to be ever since the BOK Arena went in several years ago. I don’t know what came first after that, cool bars or condos but it is amazing the housing that is being built that accompanies the explosion of bars and restaurants. It wasn’t that many years ago that Michael Buble at a concert here joked that he left his hotel to check out the local action and all he he saw were tumbleweeds blowing down the street.
There is growing pains of course. The city has again started enforcing parking laws and the residents downtown are complaining. I’m told that parking in not prime areas averages about $70 per month. It may not sound like much to you big city folks but people in Oklahoma think that free parking is somehow in the Bill of Rights. A codicil of the Second Amendment I think.
The other thing is that the smaller the condo the bigger the dogs the owners have and there is not enough places for the dogs to go relieve themselves and I see people trying to coax their oversize dogs into small planters so the dogs can do their business. Something is going to have to give on that.
Anyway, it is great to see new construction going on downtown and people moving in and making it their home. I really do think that a strong downtown is vital to any city.