Bricktown's Magic


A highlight of the Republican convention was a quick visit to Oklahoma City's Bricktown. A half-dozen of the Tulsa contigent drove in from Midwest City after the banquet Friday night, paid $5 to park in the garage. Parking was not too hard to find, but there seemed to be plenty of activity on the streets. It was bustling but not claustrophobic. Several of the clubs had lines out to the sidewalk. Being that I was the baby of the group (age 39) and that none of us looked hip enough to gain admittance, we passed by the rope lines and strolled down to the Bricktown Brewery for an hour or so of specialty beers (I stuck with Dr Pepper) and half-heard conversation.

As Tulsans look longingly at Oklahoma City for how to revive our city's spirit and recreate a lively urban center, people tend to focus on the new Ford Center arena, the Canal, and the Bricktown Ballpark. But there was nothing scheduled at the Ford Center tonight, and the Redhawks were out of town. So what was bringing people in to spend money in Bricktown?

Bricktown is its own attraction. It was a success long before the Ford Center opened. The baseball stadium hosts less than 70 games a season. The big ticket, publicly-funded facilities may have called attention to the nightclubs and restaurants, but there is no question that these privately-owned businesses, and the variety of people that they draw, are the big attraction. People want to be where other people already are. Once you build a critical mass of people, more and more will come. That's why I believe targeted investments in public infrastructure (e.g. streets and sidewalks), aimed at encouraging investments like those already made by Michael Sager and other urban pioneers, will do more to make downtown vibrant again than an arena or ballpark. If we make it easier for more people to live in downtown, and if we remove anything in the public sphere that deters new investment, we'll see the kind of new life we've been hoping for.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 5, 2003 8:29 AM.

Christine's Lullaby was the previous entry in this blog.

Liberty and secure title to property is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]