Posts filed under ‘Oklahoma City News’

Vote Plaza District Best of OKC!

Be sure to vote Plaza District businesses in the OK Gazette’s Best of OKC which hit stands today!

You can vote online  HERE
Best restaurant more people should know about: Tienda Guatamala, Coffys Cafe

Best resale, vintage or thrift store: Bad Granny’s Bazaar, Velvet Monkey Vintage
Best hair salon:  Velvet Monkey Salon
Best restaurant with healthy menu options:  Coffy’s Cafe
Best tattoo shop: No Regrets Tattoo
Best realtor: Paula & Company
Best place for a first date: Plaza District
Best new business (to open after May 1, 2009): Shop Good, Keep It Local OK, Warpaint Clothing, Coffys Cage
Best cup of coffee: Cafe Evoke Catering
Best art gallery: DNA Galleries, JuJu Gallery
Best dance or theater company:  Lyric Theatre, Everything Goes Dance Studio
Best radio station: The Spy FM
Best Place to Spot a Flaming Lip: Plaza District
Best proof that Oklahoma is more than OK: Plaza District
Best men’s clothing: Warpaint, Shop Good
Best women’s clothing:  Shop Good, DNA Galleries, Collected Thread, Warpaint Clothing
Best accessories: Collected Thread, DNA Galleries, Shop Good
Best gifts: DNA Galleries, Collected Thread, JuJu Gallery, Shop Good
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June 9, 2010 at 5:09 am Leave a comment

Oklahoma Today Main Street Issue: Launch Party

The Oklahoma Main Street Center and the Plaza District celebrate the release of the January/February issue of Oklahoma Today headlined as “The Complete Guide to Oklahoma’s 42 Main Street Communities” and indeed it is. The glossy pages of the magazine highlight the 42 Main Street communities in Oklahoma who are restoring and revitalizing their communities from the inside out. Even more, this issue is a testimony to the process and the Main Street movement across the state and the nation. In celebration of this anticipated issue, four launch parties will be held across the state, and the Plaza District will host the central celebration.

To kick off the Plaza District’s second Friday artwalk, LIVE on the Plaza, the launch party will commence at the renovated Plaza Theatre, now Lyric at the Plaza. Attendees will be able to view this very special issue, visit with Oklahoma Main Street Staff and other central Main Street communties, as well as tour the historic Lyric Theatre. After the celebration attendees can experience the many open business open for LIVE on the Plaza.

Join us, Friday, January 8th at 7 PM for this exciting moment in Oklahoma Main Street history, and this proud spotlight on many hard-working communities across the state.

Where:Lyric Theatre, 1727 NW 16th, 73106
When: Friday, January 8th, 7-8 PM
More info: Kristen Vails, 405-308-5991, kristen@plazadistrict.org

December 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

Plaza and MAPS 3

If you aren’t familiar with the MAPS 3 proposal to be voted on December 8th, please visit www.okc.gov/maps3/, or www.yesformaps.com to learn more.

As director of the Plaza District Association, I really wanted to shine some light on the possibilities this proposal could bring to our district. Aside from the many benefits these projects will add to the entire city, there are a few that have the potential to become incredibly beneficial to the Plaza District.

Convention Center-We need a convention center. The opportunity to have large amounts of visitors spending money (downtown, hotels, food) in our city (and then leaving) is one of the greatest aspects of this proposal. When people travel, even on conventions and conferences, they will shop. What does one do before traveling? Well, they get online and search for things to do. I know, that by the time our new convention center is built, when a traveler googles “things to do in oklahoma city” the Plaza District will come up as one of the places to be. They’ll want to come to DNA Galleries to get a Oklahoma tshirt, or handmade scarf from Collected Thread. They’ll notice there’s a unique performance happening at Lyric Theatre while they are in town. That’s why the Plaza needs the convention center. Our district holds the local, unique flavor that visitors long for.

Transit-While it will be our job to get their attention, they’ll need to be able to get here easily. We’re lucky to have the buses stopping in our district, but the public using the buses are not the public using many of our businesses. While the first phase of public transit will be met with MAPS 3, it will likely not extend this far into 16th. It is important that the groundwork for public transit is laid, and that it is laid now. My hope is this will open doors in public transit to the plaza for the future.

All in all, the increased tourism generated from these projects will not only benefit the Plaza District, but the city as a whole. Many of the other projects will play an integral role in the further development of our district. While not a direct impact for the plaza, the focus on health initiatives associated with the trails, senior centers are so valuable for a state ranked so high in obesity. The cultural opportunities the park and river projects will provide are exciting-venues, public art and gatherings that will enhance the arts in our state.

I posted this blog for, and encourage discussion. Feel free to comment your ideas and views. Also, we will be hosting a MAPS 3 Forum on Monday, November 23rd with Mayor Cornett at 5:30 PM. PhotoArt Studios 1738 NW 16th. Please come to learn more. Feel free to email me at kristen@plazadistrict.org for more info.

November 17, 2009 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

LIVE on the Plaza, Velvet Monkey Salon Grand Opening!

June 12th, 7-11 PM 1700 block of NW 16th

Plaza District is taking it back in time to the hey day of the district, Rockabilly style! In celebration of the grand opening of Velvet Monkey Salon, LIVE on the Plaza Second Fridays will have plenty of Rockabilly, featured artists, live music, fashion and more! New businesses and building renovations such as Velvet Monkey Salon are bringing the Plaza District back to the buzzing commercial district it was from the 1930s-60’s. Please join us as we celebrate this comeback!

The fun kicks off at 7 PM at Velvet Monkey Salon where plenty of funky style and art is sure to be found. Local groups including Hellkats bike gang, Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls, Roadkillers Car Club, Psuedodance burlesque, and DJ ATM will be buzzing about the newly renovated Velvet Monkey Salon! Featured artist Olivia Frisbee from LA will also be exhibiting art. This grand opening celebration is also a pre-party event for the Rockabilly 50’s Fashion show at Bolero Tapas Bar & Spanish Grill beginning at 11 PM.

Next door, visit Collected Thread to see the collage work of Amy Coldren, plus a great assortment of local handmade and vintage items. Next door to Collected, DNA Galleries will host artist Spencer Tracy, as well as handmade art, accessories and clothes!

Cross the street over to Paula & Co, 1708 and No Regrets Tattoo and enter the courtyard for live pyschobilly music by Billy Joe Winghead, outdoor grilling, food and refreshments. Other stops on the west end of the district include open mic at Coffy’s Cafe, featured artists at Convergence Collective, vintage items Bad Grannies Bazaar, outdoor artist booths and an open house at PhotoArt Studios.

For more info about LIVE on the Plaza Second Fridays call 405-308-5991. The Plaza District is located on NW 16th between Indiana and Blackwelder Avenues, on street parking and lot parking will be available in the district, while neighborhood parking is available on the north side of the district.

Picture 1

May 26, 2009 at 7:43 pm 1 comment

BIG Announcement!

From Rococo- BIG Announcement!

Rococo is proud to announce the Partnering of PHOTOART Studio and Rococo in the Plaza District! We are kicking off the news tonight at Urbanity being held at the Velvet Monkey tonight from 5:30- 7:00!

We will be doing private dinners, cooking classes, and parties to support the Lyric and the Plaza District as a whole. We are very proud and excited here at Rococo to be joining K.O. Rinearson, PHOTOART and becoming part of the Plaza District Family!

Tickets to the premiere event for the Steel Magnolias Pre-Party can be purchased at Lyric Theatre Box office 405-524-9312

Plaza District is so excited about this awesome event and partnership!!

April 16, 2009 at 7:42 pm 2 comments

FEDERAL PROGRAM GIVES NEIGHBORHOODS HOPE

 

A great article about our friends in Classen Ten Penn:

Oklahoma City receives $8.6 million to rehabilitate areas hit by foreclosures

FEDERAL PROGRAM GIVES NEIGHBORHOODS HOPE

BY STEVE LACKMEYER
Published: January 25, 2009

Rick McAuliffe has seen good times — and a lot of bad times — in his Classen-10-Penn neighborhood since he first bought his home 27 years ago.

Rick McAuliffe, co-president of the Classen-10-Penn Association, stands next to a house at 1117 NW 11 being renovated in the neighborhood in Oklahoma City on Thursday. Photo BY PAUL B. SOUTHERLAND, THE OKLAHOMAN 
“Every time I think I’m going to get out, something happens to make me stay and speak out, get people organized,” said McAuliffe, Classen-10-Penn Associationpresident. “I can remember when it was pretty nice, and then it sunk pretty low.”

For a while, McAuliffe said, Classen-10-Penn had the city’s highest crime rate. Poverty is no stranger to the area either.

And yet, McAuliffe insists, the community remains intact. Hope pervades, and McAuliffe is hoping his neighborhood will be chosen for a new federal program that will provide the city with $8.6 million to buy vacant foreclosed houses, rehabilitate them, and then turn them over to families who will make them their homes.

Planning Director Russell Claus, who is overseeing the program, is looking at a rapid schedule dictated by theDepartment of Housing and Urban Development; the city had just a couple weeks to prepare an application before the Dec. 1 deadline, and then received approval earlier this month. The money will be allocated on Feb. 13.

“It’s been very quick, and there has to be a quick performance,” Claus said. “We have 18 months to commit all the funds. We’re pretty confident — I’ve got a good crew, we’ve got good partners we’ve been in contact with. We should be able to run pretty quickly with this.”

 

Unresolved issues

Many questions remain. The program requires the city to use the money in neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures and subprime lending.The city must also identify qualifying homes and then negotiate purchases from mortgage holders at 15 percent below appraised value.

Claus’ department has identified an 8-mile stretch in the inner-city that includes Classen-10-Penn, Linnwood, Oak Cliff and Crestwood neighborhoods. The next step, Claus said, is to figure out where the city can make the greatest impact and whether banks will negotiate.

Estimates show foreclosures in Oklahoma City were up 35 percent over the past three years, though the most recent reports show the increase even higher.

“That’s still nothing like what’s going on elsewhere in the country, but it’s still significant,” Claus said. “But since we’re not as hard hit as California or Florida, some banks may want to ride this out and see if it gets any worse here.”

The goal, Claus said, is to rescue neighborhoods that still are communities — and to trim the current foreclosed property market by 20 percent. Claus applauded Congress for passing the legislation last summer as a way to directly combat the aftermath of disastrous sub-prime loans that left many homeowners with mortgages they couldn’t afford.

“A vacant home is like a cavity,” Claus said. “If you don’t address it, it can spread to the rest of your mouth. Whenever you have a home vacant, if a person is looking to relocate into that neighborhood, they’ll have concerns about that home not being occupied. It can be a problem with maintenance; it leads it to being open to vandalism and kids getting in. A home by itself may not be a problem, but a string of them can lead to all sorts of difficulties.”

 

Building neighborhoods

The program is also being welcomed by the Oklahoma City Neighborhood Alliance.”We know that home ownership is the No. 1 thing that brings up a neighborhood,” saidGeorgie Rasco, executive director. “When you have homeowners, they take pride in their property, they get to know their neighbors, and you have an all-around safer environment where home ownership is higher than rental rates.”

Rasco said she hopes the foreclosure program might reduce the number of homes owned by out-of-state owners who never even see their investments.

“We have a problem with that — more than a majority of these owners in some neighborhoods are from California or out east,” Rasco said. “They are in it to make money, and they don’t care about the homes or the neighborhood.”

Rasco said the Classen-10-Penn neighborhood is a great target.

“There are wonderful old homes there worth saving that were bought up by a lot of these out-of-state landlords,” Rasco said. “And either the bottom fell out or they couldn’t flip them, and now they’ve been left vacant. If the city can go back in and bring families back into the area, we have a strong case for families to move back in.”

 

Bouncing back

McAuliffe, meanwhile, is filled with hope already, impressed with another recent city effort to crack down on crime. He’s also working with the city to add more lighting to areas that were once draws for prostitutes and drug dealers. He applauds recent renovation efforts by Plaza district developer Jeff Struble and sees the influx of Hispanic families as a plus for the neighborhood.”This whole neighborhood has always been a melting pot,” McAuliffe said. “The Hispanic community is out here now, fixing up their homes, taking pride in them. These guys get out, they do their brick work together, and then they go the other guy’s house, fix a roof, and then they gather in the park and play volleyball.”

McAuliffe hopes more families will follow with the help of the city’s investment — and looks forward to seeing more wedding ceremonies and block suppers in the future.

Such sense of community is what the city is looking for. Claus just hopes the investment will be enough to avoid the damage done when the city and state were plunged into an economic depression in the 1980s.

“When you get disinvestment, people leave, property values are gone,” Claus said. “You don’t have a community any longer. And recreating a community is very difficult in an existing neighborhood. We’re still dealing with the impact of the 1980s oil bust and we probably will be for decades to come. It did some serious lasting damage.”

 

January 26, 2009 at 9:44 pm Leave a comment


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