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Banks: No thanks to financing Tulsa ballpark

Two banks passed on financing a new Tulsa Drillers ballpark; local foundation may step forward.
Two banks passed on financing a new Tulsa Drillers (Class AA; Texas League) ballpark, and a local foundation already involved to an extent in the project may step forward and finance the $60-million project.

The two banks cited restrictions on the bid criteria and the bad economy as reasons to decline bidding on the project. Not a surprise: last week the Tulsa City Council passed a resolution authorizing financing from a local foundation should traditional bank financing not be forthcoming.

And that foundation may very well be the Tulsa Community Foundation, whose members have ties to the Bank of Oklahoma. Only one bid came in for construction, and that was submitted by Tulsa Stadium Construction Co. LLC, which met the criteria to build the ballpark at a $39.2 million budget. Phil Lakin, is manager of the construction project, and he’s also executive director of the Tulsa Community Foundation. Given the economy, it’s a little surprising only one bid was received on the project, and it’s even more curious only one firm — with ties to the ballpark construction — met the bidding criteria.

The $60-million project is funded by private sources ($30 million), a downtown tax assessment ($25 million) and the Drillers ($5 million).

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