save our skyride

Tulsa Skyride Auction: Planned to Be the End of the Ride?

If all options are being considered for “moving forward” with the skyride, why is the skyride announced to be put up for sale via surplus auction planned for mid-October? Wouldn’t a winning bid represent a commitment to complete the sales transaction? Expo Square’s May 2022 statement indicated, “Any sale will be subject to defined removal conditions and terms.” This sounds like any buyer will have to remove the skyride from the fairgrounds.

The skyride should be preserved until all options have been explored through a transparent process with public input.

What are potential auction outcomes?

We know that no one can purchase the skyride to operate it at any other location inside the United States. Please see this post: Tulsa Skyride Cannot Be Relocated in the USA.

If a buyer must remove the skyride and cannot relocate it to operate anywhere else in the country, what’s left? There are two main options:

  1. Sell its parts to other Von Roll skyride owners.
  2. Sell it for scrap.

It could also be sold to a buyer outside the United States. But newer used skyrides or brand new skyrides would more likely attract those buyers. Even so, shipping it out of the country is not a plus for Tulsa or Oklahoma.

What if a buyer could obtain permission to operate the skyride right where it is?

Well, that would be great. But the best path forward for the Tulsa Skyride’s future is to remain under Tulsa County ownership with the County hiring or contracting with a qualified team to manage skyride maintenance and operations.

There are few if any advantages for an outside buyer to take ownership of the skyride and operate it in on the County-owned Expo Square. Memories of the Bell’s Amusement Park eviction remain strong. And the success or failure of a new skyride owner’s business would always depend on Expo Square decisions that may directly or indirectly affect the skyride’s business in unexpected ways.

What’s better for Tulsa and Oklahoma?

Which option represents a greater benefit for the community and the region?

  1. Expo Square sells the Tulsa Skyride to a buyer for permanent disassembly or demolition, removal, and likely resale for parts or as scrap.
  2. The recently-renovated, beloved, historic Tulsa Skyride is returned to service with imaginative new plans for a bright future.

The Tulsa Skyride is an underappreciated gem for Tulsa. Going forward, remaining under Tulsa County ownership is most likely its best bet for success. County ownership can provide opportunities for cost savings. The main thing that’s needed is to hire or contract a qualified team to oversee maintenance and operations. Funding details can all be worked out.

The Tulsa Skyride has already been recognized as a historic Tulsa asset. The skyride is in the process of nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, our nation’s list of historic places worthy of preservation. Very few cities in the United States have a genuine vintage Swiss alpine aerial gondola system right in the middle of town. Tulsa should capitalize on this in many ways. Why rush to destroy this valuable, unique, and historic asset?

Tulsa Skyride at night: lights of BOK tower are in the distance on the right.
A couple ascends in a gondola for a night ride across the Tulsa State Fair. The lights atop the downtown BOK Tower are seen in the distance on the right. Click on image to view larger.

Let’s all support saving the Tulsa Skyride

This should not be the end of the ride for the skyride. It’s a beloved Tulsa treasure that has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of upgrades and renovations from 2007 through 2019, when it operated for the last time. It didn’t stop operating because of mechanical problems.

Let’s take this opportunity to welcome the skyride back to service and leverage the skyride to its greatest potential for Tulsa. There are solutions to be found for any issue facing the skyride. The Tulsa Skyride should be a money-making winner. There are great possibilities. Let’s make it happen. Let’s make this a win/win for all.

The most important thing you can do to save the skyride right now:

Contact all of the elected County Commissioners on the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority Board:

Please be polite and respectful! Let them know how much the skyride means to you and ask them to keep the skyride standing while a solution is found for its ongoing maintenance and operation. Also be sure to encourage everyone you know to contact the County Commissioners to voice their support for the skyride.

Further show your support by signing our online petition.

Thank you for your support for the Tulsa Skyride!

Leave a Reply