— Tulsa’s city manager said Thursday that the city will soon ask the state to keep more than 100 stores open for business during an economic slump.
In a letter to the Oklahoma Department of Health and Environment, TPD chief Rick Smith said the city has already started asking people for comments about keeping the stores open.
He said the department plans to work with the state, which has authority to close stores, on how to keep the stores operating during the economic slump, which he said will likely be “rough.”
Smith said TPD will also request that state officials allow TPD to retain its downtown office space to allow the department to work in the downtown district.
TPD has about 100 downtown offices, but Smith said that number is likely to increase to about 1,000 as it tries to close more downtown buildings.TPD and the state both have jurisdiction over the city’s downtown district, and the departments say the plan is consistent with the spirit of the agreement reached between the city and the county.
In January, the state agreed to keep Tulsa’s downtown office district open through at least the end of 2019, as well as the TPD’s downtown offices.
The city is trying to find other ways to retain business, which Smith said would involve “creating new opportunities for people to come to the city to do things.”
Tulsa is a major city in the state’s heartland, and Smith said a decision to shut down its downtown buildings is a “no-brainer.”
The city will seek input from the public during its public comment period, he said.