Local residents suing the City of Tulsa over the proposed demolition of the B.C. Franklin Park community center will drop a restraining order application against the City.
That’s in exchange for the City agreeing not to touch the center until a Tulsa County District Court judge can decide whether to grant a temporary injunction against the demolition.
“We want the building renovated. We want it refurbished,” said petitioners’ attorney Anna Benn. “We want the City to spend the tax dollars that were allocated on the refurbishing of the building; we don’t want a splash pad.”
“That is a $405,000 splash pad,” she added. “We don’t want it.”
The restraining order hearing was to have been today, but it was postponed earlier this week. Counselors for the City and the petitioners have five days to agree on an injunction hearing date.
The center at Franklin Park is one of seven community centers the City is planning to demolish and replace with different amenities, like splash pads and a pavilion.
The lawsuit was filed on July 26. Two days earlier, the city Board of Adjustments rejected an updated Franklin Park site plan from the Parks Department, citing protests from the community.
Benn says the petitioners are claiming that “the city has not spent the money that was allocated for the renovations and refurbishing of B.C. Franklin.”
They say revenue from 2002 third-penny sales tax should have been used to renovate the community center.
Resident Joi McCondichie grew up in the neighborhood and says the Franklin Park was built for her and her peers. She’s not one of the formal petitioners, but she is closely following developments.
“The misconception is that no one has been in the park for 10 years,” she said. “That is not true.”
She says the City has not kept its promise to refurbish the park.
Her question for the city is, “How did you legally put up a bond for a park you knew you were going to demolish?”
Click above to listen to our story, and to hear one of the petitioners, Patricia Gaines, explain why she wants to keep the community center.