The year 2020 was one unlike any we’ve experienced before, at least in recent history.
Despite the numerous challenges, the City of Tulsa is taking time to highlight some of the accomplishments of 2020.
First, there’s the massive investment announced by American Airlines. One of the city’s largest employers, American Airlines announced a planned $550 million investment in its Tulsa Maintenance Base – the largest single capital investment in Tulsa’s history, according to the City of Tulsa.
Other economic development highlights include the new Muncie Power Products manufacturing facility and the $48 million Zink Dam Modification project, which will put more water in the Arkansas River.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum also highlighted successes at City Hall, such as developing and passing a balanced budget, arranging for $1.7 billion in capital appropriations for street, water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure and public facilities and investments in public safety.
Tulsa hired a new police chief and a new fire chief in 2020.
Wendell Franklin took over for retiring police chief Chuck Jordan in early 2020 and Michael Baker was promoted to fire chief following the retirement of Ray Driskell.
The police department would face a tough year with the sometimes chaotic protests on the streets of Tulsa over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Weeks later, on June 29th, TPD would face its greatest challenge in nearly 25 years when two police officers were shot.
Sergeant Craig Johnson and Officer Aurash Zarkeshan were shot during a traffic stop. Sgt. Johnson died from his injuries and Ofc. Zarkeshan made a miraculous recovery, returning to work just four months later.
The city would also face the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Tulsa was the first municipality in the metro to issue a Safer at Home Order and a mask mandate, something Mayor G.T. Bynum is very proud of doing.
“We will look back on that as one of the great humanitarian efforts in the history of our city.” Bynum said.
The City of Tulsa also began the process of searching for mass graves from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in 2020.