Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Tulsa's Cherry Street Attracts Press Attention

Tulsa's Cherry Street—defined as 15th Street between Peoria and Utica—is widely recognized as one of Tulsa's most charming business and residential neighborhoods. Like the Brookside neighborhood, Cherry Street's mix of small shops and restaurants is an attractive, walkable street that brings shoppers and diners into Tulsa's Midtown area.

The changing face of Cherry Street has also generated some recent press attention. In October, Rhonda Clark, a reporter for the Midtown edition of the Community World, published two stories about the neighborhood. Clark quoted several Cherry Street business owners who were optimistic about the neighborhood's revival. She also reported on the formation of the New Cherry Street Association, a group promoting redevelopment along the street.

More recently, Michael Bates, writing in Urban Tulsa, praised Cherry Street's appealing atmosphere and asked an interesting rhetorical question: "Is this the best street in Tulsa?"If it is, Bates continues, the city ought to "bottle it, and sprinkle it on the rest of the city."

Bates also reviews the history of the neighborhood and explores the new challenges facing the street. He's skeptical of urban "streetscaping" projects, redevelopment that usually features brick walkways, new tree plantings, park benches, and the like.

Having driven too many times through the recent Brookside streetscaping, we at AltTulsa are inclined to agree with Bates. When it comes to planning, development and neighborhood improvements, sometimes less is more.

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