The Tulsa Route 66 Commission proposed a study Tuesday to support economic development along the city’s stretch of the Mother Road.
The commission will recommend the City of Tulsa pay for an economic development study of all 24 miles of Route 66 through the city.
Commission member and City Councilor Blake Ewing said it’s important the study provide verifiable data, much like a downtown housing study did several years ago to spark residential development.
"We want somebody's who's wanting to open a business to be able to go to a bank and have all kinds of information about the economic potential of Route 66," Ewing said.
Tourism data like visitor counts and spending would be a major component of the study. Right now, that information exists only for the entire 2,400 miles of the highway.
"We can do the math a little bit. If there are this many people traveling Route 66, we can kind of pull some conclusions out of that, but we don't really have a way to formalize that count here or to use that in a verifiable way," Ewing said.
The study could also evaluate development and redevelopment opportunities and land use. Some big projects are already in the works.
"We're going to have a bus rapid transit line. We know we've got some infill development opportunity. Let's just get it all down on paper and create a game plan for how Route 66 develops as we go down the line," Ewing said.
The study would likely cost a bit more than a recent $80,000 downtown walkability survey. Ewing estimated the study could run in the $100,000 range. Funding could come from several sources, including the commission, though its annual budget is just $200,000.