Community and Economic Development Committee hears Tulsa company’s proposal on how to move forward with BTW project

Twenty20 Management, of Tulsa, has no dearth of experience with overseeing large projects from the planning phase to the very end. Principals Greg Shaw, Gary Sparks, and William Tisdale boast extensive experience in the realms of design, architecture, construction, project management, and the implementation of large, impactful projects, both public and private. Between the three of them, they have worked on the T. Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, River Spirit Casino, the BOK Center, and many other complex undertakings.

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Tisdale explained to Sapulpa City Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee last Monday evening that he and his partners are able to act as an “owners’ representative” on big community projects because of that education in everything from the practical business of supply chains and labor issues to the more subtle pieces like feasibility studies, financial structures, how to market these types of projects, incentives, grant money, etc.—everything, that is, “to bring these projects to fruition.”

“We do concept planning,” Tisdale said. “Economic growth potential analysis. We take a full view of a small municipality and its value and put it into a concept plan, which makes it easier for funders and for City and County officials to understand what’s ‘shovel ready.’”

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The group was encouraging about the potential to bridge the perceived funding gap with the Booker T. Washington Recreation Center improvement project while also moving forward with building the facility that the community has expressed it wants on multiple occasions, and not a lesser version.

“It’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that you haven’t marketed it to the right people yet,” Tisdale said. “Sapulpa brings a complete, diverse historic value, and the State is open to creating ‘legacy zones’ with some of their $2B in ARPA funds…There’s value here.”

“I think you have the perfect storm here…There’s a lot of interest right now with Route 66 running through, a downtown that’s ready to thrive, but the biggest thing is that to the east of you, the Glenpools and the Jenkses are [the ones] benefitting from the traffic that pases through.”

“We’re proposing that we work with you and [City Manager Joan Riley] on every step to make sure you don’t miss out on the capital out there. Our firm brings the feasibility study into reality…Over the past 90 days we’ve been able to raise $10M of gap funding through ARPA funds, philanthropic dollars” and other sources, Tisdale stated.

He concluded the presentation, saying, “We’ve been amazed at the private dollars that come in to invest once [people] have seen a project a certain way…It’s not 100% guaranteed, but we’ve had a lot of success.

After the group’s departure, Vice-Mayor Carla Gunn and the other Committee members (Councilors Hugo Naifeh and Brian Stephens) discussed the proposal amongst themselves and with City staff.

Stephens was optimistic and spoke about his own extensive experience in the construction industry with timing issues and cost overruns and how he felt like the funding exists, if one knows where to look.

Banker Naifeh was more hesitant to show approval, saying, “I don’t want to get stuck with ‘If you build it, they will come.’ This isn’t our money. You cannot gamble with the public’s money.”

“I agree,” said Stephens, “but you can’t do anything without knowing how much [the total project will] cost,” alluding to the role Twenty20 would play in gathering the various pieces of the project and defining a methodical strategy.

Gunn was adamant on her stance, saying, “We need a plan!”

Ultimately, no action was taken, however, Riley assured the Committee that any lingering questions it had would be answered by the following day. She said that both City staff and the Committee will have the opportunity to seriously think about the proposal and that it will be revisited soon.