Rescuing a Gypsy

| | Comments (8)

I get weary of hearing people who are smart enough to know better to talk about buildings and neighborhoods as too far gone to be worth any effort or investment. Someone was lobbying me about $788 million plan to build islands in the Arkansas River, and I countered by saying we could do more to rebuild a lively urban center in Tulsa by implementing the 6th Street (Pearl District) plan. About $35 million is needed to deal with stormwater problems in the Elm Creek basin, so that rehabilitation and quality infill development can occur in this strategic area between downtown, TU, and Hillcrest Hospital. Part of the plan is a canal along 7th Street connecting a stormwater reservoir southeast of 7th & Rockford with the new lake at Centennial Park.

But this person who was waxing enthusiastic about The Channels could only say, "That's a terrible neighborhood." He could imagine building three islands in the middle of the river out of nothing, but he couldn't look at an existing neighborhood and imagine the possibilities.

As an exercise in expanding your imagination, take a look at the before and after pictures of the Gypsy Coffee House, at 303 N. Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa.

Six short years ago the offices of the Gypsy Oil Company had been boarded up for a quarter of a century. The building sat with no water, heat, cooling, or power, and the roof had leaked for 20 years or more.

Today, the Gypsy Coffee House is open 'til late every night, has good coffee, good food, free WiFi, and a nice atmosphere. The second floor has been redone as a salon.

Someone had the imagination to look at that decrepit old building and to see what it could be, rather than what it was. Tulsa needs more people with that kind of imagination, the imagination to take the good things we already have and make them better.

TRACKBACK: Charles G. Hill comments:

We do need the big guys with the vast visions; but we need folks like Mr Garcia, devoted to the smaller things, just as much.

(One of these days I'll have real trackback working again.)


Bob said:

When I hear the constant mass-media fostered drumbeat that we need to "invest" $100,000,000's in the Arkansas River, I think of how our rival Oklahoma City's downtown got resurrected with initially VERY LITTLE public funding in Bricktown.

"Bricktown's" resurrecdtion started as a few entrepreneurial restaurants in a blighted, board-up area across the Sante Fe railroad track from the rest of downtown OKC.

The Bricktown area became a nice walk for something different to eat near downtown in the mid 1980's in downtown OKC, after years of business and restaurants closing in downtown.

Later, other restaurants got going in these old, blighted 1920's era boarded-up warehouses. When restaurants started going after a market outside of the Lunch crowd, and began staying open at night and on WEEKENDS, then a Destination Spot was created. It just grew and grew.

The MAPS tax-payer money that starting flowing in the mid 1990's came only AFTER the critical mass as a Destination Spot had already been reached in Bricktown.

Bricktown had already become a local DESTINATION. Note the sequence, please.

What the Channels is trying to do, beside burn at least 700 million dollars of our taxmoney, is to create an ASTRO-TURF Destination Spot for our local community.

WAY, WAY, too costly.

And, goes about it exactly BACKWARDS.

TOO late, and TOO expensive.

And in all likelihood, basically designed to directly benefit only a very small clique of connected construction companies, architects& engineers, attorneys, accountants, PR firms, and bond underwriters, fronting for a subset of the local Oligarch Families Financial Interests.

This disproportionate burden shifting is a concept I'm first framing here now, called:


It's the PREMIUM those local controlling Oligarch Families continue to extract from the hapless local population.

Paul Tay said:

Tax dollars fills the vacuum where imagination is lacking.

susan said:

There are parts of Oklahoma City that still desperately need vision. Oklahoma City University is a beautiful school filled with top talent. There are many buildings near that need business people to go in there and clean up many run down buildings near there.

It's also annoying if you go to bricktown to have to pay for parking -- some gripe many have about downtown Tulsa.

Near the capitol there are run down businesses leading up to our own state capitol.

Jamie Pierson said:

Mr. Bates, you KNOW Gypsy has terrible coffee.

susan said:

Don't forget the Mid Continent building and other beautiful places downtown have also been rescued over the years and redone with vision and without asking taxpayers to pay the expense of making downtown Tulsa beautiful. With drilling companies doing better now, instead of having BOK (Bank of Oklahoma) pay a few million for their name to be put on the arena, it could have had the Public Relations department from Helmerich and P. or Conoco/Phillips,
lots of millionaires still here in Tulsa -- and all kinds of different wealthy companies. Was there any
well known planned bidding on which company got
to put their money where their name is on the new arena? The Great Pl. Airlines bankrupt mess -- BOK and the cost of the bad loan deal and the great risk the Great Pl. Airlines was do the majority still feel Bank of Oklahoma should be the one to have their name on the new
arena that taxpayers are heavily paying the price for?

The Jenks/Bixby bridge is also a topic since many
still don't want to have to pay to cross a bridge when they can cross 2 different ways for free. Homeowners that purchased expensive homes also don't want the extra traffic on Yale.

But as a safety problem on the Bixby Memorial bridge, companies that move
houses that come down 151st street and turn on Memorial to go to 169, they tie up traffic and/or
slow traffic down. When they turn on 169, you can see they have run into the brand new light where people can cross to go on the bike path -- this hopefully was paid for when it was last hit
which when the truck/trailer turned from Memorial to 169 it was so long and wide it hit the light, you can still see tire tracks where trucks often need extra room and go up on the dirt past the road. More than once, I saw rigs knock over the portable toilet and left it knocked over -- door open with no one inside while the road above it was being worked on.
These trailer rigs that come down the street -- how often do we see signs knocked over that only something that big could run into?

Bob said:

My point about Bricktown as a destination is that Bricktown had reached the gravitas of a destination spot long BEFORE the MAPS funding was ever approved for the canal, Ford Center, etc., etc.

But like the vampires that they are, the Tax Vampires just hate to ever let go of a tax. So, once MAPS was completed, after being extended once by voters to pay for significant cost overruns on the projects, the Tax Vampires pulled another full-court media blitz to con the voters into extending MAPS as: MAPS-for-KIDS.

MAPS-for-KIDS is Sales Tax money for School buildings. Isn't that what PROPERTY TAXES are for?

And, the voters fell for it. All slickly and quietly financed by the connected coteries of construction companies, architects & engineers, bond underwriters, etc. They'll NEVER be rid of that tax.

And, all occuring without the stricture of a campaign donation limit. There is NO LIMIT on the amount that individuals or companies can contribute to raise our taxes to in turn line their pockets. NO LIMIT.

susan said:

Talking about money -- wasn't there some questions about how the gambling casinos profit
that was to go to "education and/or other Oklahoma funding" -- was that a
BRAD HENRY thumbs up allowing gambling "for the
good" that it was to help Oklahoma.

Cockfighting was another thing that he would not take a stand on in the Largent/Henry political
fight for the Governor's seat. Is cockfighting
democrat voters see animal cruelty as a top
election cause?

There were 3 times I went to the State Capitol since Brad Henry has been governor and I never got a positive recommendation from anyone that worked there -- wasn't there also a time Governor
Henry just plain forgot to tell anyone he was on vacation with his family and Mary Fallin had to step in when that occurrence happened.

I think Istook can win the election and I would
like to know what Istook would like to clean up around OK City and his thoughts on improving OK
if elected our new Governor.

Bob said:

Susan's last post is interesting but way off topic on her about Brad Henry and Gambling.

But, being an irresistible lead-in for me, I think that Baptist Deacon Bad Brad Henry's legacy of the last four years should be remembered for:

--Expanded Indian gambling while extracting only a mere 5% pittance of the Take for the state. Thousands of wrecked homes, wrecked careers, wrecked finances, wrecked cars, and wrecked families ensue from problem gamblers who are often also problem drinkers, i.e. poor impulse control coupled with addictive behaviorial traits.
--Expanded cigarette taxes in such a way as to allow the Indian Vice Lords a huge competitive advantage over regular commercial retail outlets, an intentionally flawed plan with RAMPANT and INTENTIONAL non-compliance on the part of the N-D-Nz.
--In return, the N-D-N tribes are funding the Democrat Party 5:1 in campaign contributions, re-cycling their Vice-laden source of funds to their favorite compliant Democrat politicos-on-the-make.
--Legalized Pay Day predatory lending; a new low in Loan Sharking.
--Supported passage of a Statewide Lottery: A Tax on Stupidity. But, it's "For the Children", they shouted at us in a massive campaign avalance.
--Allowed Racetracks to become Racinos.

And you say he is a DEACON in a BAPTIST Church?

What a Legacy? What a major mediocrity! And a SINFUL one, too.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 17, 2006 11:20 PM.

They told you so was the previous entry in this blog.

Money for that police raise 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?]