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Wednesday, Apr. 25, 2012

Future of SW Tulsa is bright


Tulsa and Tulsa County south and west of the Arkansas River are on the upswing.

Although the Tulsa County News ceases publication with this issue that event is not a reflection of the trajectory of the area it has served for nearly 90 years. The rapidly changing communications industry which has been hard on newspapers in general finally caught up with the paper. Ironically, its end comes as the community it covered is undergoing a renaissance.

In recent years, area residents and business owners have channeled their energy through several organizations and initiatives that have been busy working on needed improvements and revitalization in Southwest Tulsa. Among them: the Southwest Chamber of Commerce, RedFork Main Street, Route 66 Village Council, Chandler Park Partners, and Southwest Tulsa Planning team, to name a few. Their efforts have stimulated greater attention by the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Public Schools in oft-overlooked and under-served areas south and west of the river. And they have brought new life to Southwest Boulevard's stretch of Historic Route 66 by highlighting the area's importance in Tulsa's history.

Events like the TYPRo's Street CReD "Red Fork Revival," the Route 66 Carnival and Down on Main Street have brought much-deserved positive attention to an area that serves as one of the city's true opportunity zones for business development and neighborhood revitalization.

The engine that has driven all this effort is a sense of community that is hard to match inside the city. Bigger than a single neighborhood, Southwest Tulsa feels like a small town within the city and has a character than is not matched elsewhere inside Tulsa.

This uniqueness - in combination with great transportation access - is a huge selling point for the area's ongoing development and redevelopment.

And although the newspaper that chronicled life west of the river for many decades is fading into the sunset, the future is bright for Southwest Tulsa.