Understanding White City's point of view

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Bill Kumpe, an attorney who lives near the site of the planned homeless facility at Admiral and Yale, has posted a long and eloquent exposition of the point of view of homeowners in the nearby neighborhoods.

(It's worth reminding: The White City neighborhood gets its name from the White City Dairy farm that preceded the subdivision on that site.)

The older, usually well built and well maintained homes in White City are one of the few places in Tulsa where blue collar, gray collar, white collar and professionals can live in an economically diverse neighborhood and all still stay within the economic goal of paying no more than a third of their total household income for housing including maintenance, utilities, necessary upgrades, etc. It is an old fashioned mixed class, mixed income neighborhood that should be the model for future developments instead of the dumping ground for city problems....

At its most basic, the proposed Admiral and Yale homeless shelter appears to be a giant rip off to the average White City resident. Joe Sixpack, Susan Secretary and Ernie Engineer see nothing more than an attempt to handle a downtown problem by exporting it to their neighborhood. Combine that with the fact that the proposed downtown "baseball" trust is aggressively trying to control the property values and development around THEIR investment and the whole deal appears profoundly hypocritical. The downtown elites are using all of their political and legal power to prevent the very type of development risk that THEY THEMSELVES are forcing down the throats of the White City residents. Taken at its most basic they are saying that their for-profit investment in a ball park deserves the city's protection while the White City residents investment in their homes does not....

Taking the homeless from a place where they were within walking distance of all their needed services and placing them in another where they are miles away on an infrequently served bus route doesn't make much sense at all. As a matter of fact, to Joe and Susan and Ernie it seems like a formula for having a lot of people walking through their neighborhoods and hanging around the neighborhood bus stops and parks....

We've been told that this facility is intended to help mainstream the mentally ill into normal society. Bill's neighborhood, bordering White City, has seen the impact of "mainstreaming" firsthand:

After several years, the "mainstreamed" neighbor is still there. But, the previously occupied homes on both sides of his are boarded up as is the previously occupied home one house down on one side. The home next to the boarded up home on the other side sold at one point on a contract for deed but the buyer cancelled after a few weeks because of the problems with the "mainstreamed" neighbor. It became a Section 8 rental unit. One of the houses across the street went vacant after the young couple who lived there couldn't take it anymore. They tried for months to sell their home with no luck. It is now a rental unit. That's five homes whose values have been severely degraded due to one property. The character of the whole neighborhood changed. And, it's not as though the homeowners were passive. Far from it. Over the years, there were at least fifty calls to the police. Many of them went unanswered. There were petitions to the police department and DA which resulted in no determinative action. The fire department answered dozens of calls about trash fires and made arrests for illegal burning more than once....

Unless their aim is to drive everyone who can afford it to move to the suburbs, our city leaders need to understand the perspective of residents of neighborhoods like those around Admiral and Yale.

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5 Comments

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

The only thing I can say is this entire project is a revamping of a tired, and old fashioned 1940's - 1960's vintage "Urban Renewal" type scheme will enjoy the same fate as Chicago's Cabrini Green.

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

1) Through in Pruitt Igo in St. Louis

2) This is the same tired old crowd who gave us the arena. Now that its operating, you need a phalanx of overtime cops to protect the event goers. guess what citizens. the money to protect the event attendees isn't in the police budget. Now there's real planning. This same general crowd wants to outsource homelessness to neighborhoods. Can we trust the mentality driving "the renewal of our souls" with our neighborhoods? How can they make informed decisions (in other words run our lives from their stucco towers) when they never visit the neighborhoods they are trashing?

I am through venting. But do you here me Stan Limburger?

Brent Taylor Author Profile Page said:

I don't have a dog in this fight as I live in South Tulsa, but I can certainly understand the concerns of White City residents. I'd too would be more than a little uncomfortable if a new homeless shelter were going up across the road from my neighborhood. No offense, but if you have children and you wouldn't be a little concerned, well...you're probably a good candidate for a newspaper editor.

So I have a proposal for our illustrious Tulsa City Council and Mayor Kathy. Being that we Tulsa citizens who sympathize with the White City residents and understand their concerns, and being we were recently scolded by the Tulsa World editors as heartless (or something to that regard) for wondering why the location, why don't we build the Taj Mahal of homeless shelters as a testament to our city's generosity?

I volunteer to offer the first $500 towards the development plus whatever taxes our government can pass from our paycheck to their hands thru another election. In return, I only have one request and that is that they can choose from any of the following list of locations to build or relocate:

(1) Utica Square
(2) Maple Ridge
(3) Philbrook
(4) The Lorton residence
(5) Woodward Park
(6) BOK Arena (guaranteeing maximum utilization)

I mean, think of the great example we could establish as a community? What do you say Ken Neal?

Jan Thomas said:

I vote with Brent ! Great location choices - Hmmmm! I think the best would be in that spot that is surrounded by Utica Square, Cascia Hall, Monte Casino and the new high rise apartments.
Can we bring that up at the next meeting of the Housing Authority?

sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

i like the list of locations but lets remember one thing. if its in the BOK arena, it could be inhumane. remember we seem to have an a/c problem there.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on September 16, 2008 7:41 AM.

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