City Moves Forward With Transformation To NE OKC

Friday, January 16th 2015, 5:44 pm
By: News 9

It's being called the biggest revitalization project ever on the northeast side of the city.

This week, the city council approved a proposal to pump $45 million dollars into the blighted NE 23rd corridor east of the capitol.

An economic development plan this size has never been seen on the Northeast side. Many who live in the community find it hard to believe it's actually going to happen.

“Right now I can't think of anything bad about it. I think it would be all good,” said Perry.

John Perry and Donald Johnson know this area very well.

“I normally don't even come over in this area, you know, I pretty much drive somewhere else,” said NE OKC resident, Donald Johnson.

And they know this corridor which they've seen change dramatically over the years, mostly for the worse, needs some major improvements.

“They need to do something over here in this area. It really wouldn't hurt anything to revitalize it. But I need a lot of help,” said Johnson.

“There are so many businesses sitting around looking kind of bad you know,” said NE OKC resident, John Perry.

In fact, blight litters the streets along the crime ridden corridor.

The area is struggling.

Population in the area is declining, while the rest of the city is booming.

“People who live in Northeast Oklahoma City have to travel outside of the community for the basic things,” said Ward 7 OKC City Councilman John Pettis.

Councilman Pettis said one of the first big projects will be a new grocery store, space for retail, housing, and even a school.

The hope is for that to be the anchor that will spin off new development.

“I'm looking forward to it,” said Perry.

But there are concerns, some are worried about losing their properties.

Two Oklahoma City councilmen want to give property owners whose homes and businesses may be seized through eminent domain an opportunity to appeal.

“We will use eminent domain as a very last result. We plan on working with every property owner in the area,” said Pettis.

“I think it's going to help the area, I really do,” said Johnson.

John Pettis said they're planning to break ground on one of the first projects in the next couple of months.

Councilman Pettis said tax payer commitments will produce more than $225 million dollars of new investment on the northeast side of the city.

7/31/14 Related Story: City Seeks To Transform "Blighted" OKC Neighborhood