North Tulsa Opportunites in the Spotlight

May 10, 2013

Volunteers ready the site for the Street CReD event.
Credit KWGS News

Tulsa’s Young Professionals Urbanist Crew will host its annual event—Street CReD—this Saturday.

It’s designed to highlight business and development opportunities in overlooked areas of town. The first event—two years ago—was in the Pearl District, followed last year by the Red Fork Main Street in West Tulsa.

This year the site will be 36th Street North and North Peoria.

Past Success

The Made Indie Emporium Shop is one in the cluster of small businesses that’s been a part of the recent revival of activity at 6th and Peoria in the Pearl District.

It’s had a location in downtown Tulsa since the beginning of 2012. But co-owner Thom Crowe says some of the credit for the second location goes to Street Cred’s first event, where Made had a pop-up shop.

“Immediately we fell in love with the area,” he said. “We looked at what it was, looked at the history of the Pearl District, and looked at what we saw that it could be, and so we worked with a few people in the area, in the Pearl District Association, and found this space, built it out, and opened up.

That was in December of 2012. How’s business there now?

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Each and every month we’re finding more and more people who are coming down here, they’re hearing what’s happening in the Pearl District. They’re hearing about us, and about the Phoenix, and the Creative Room, and Lot 6. And people are coming down here to see what it’s all about.

That kind of momentum is exactly what the organizers of Street CReD are hoping for.

The Goal

“Our mission is, when no area of Tulsa is neglected, the entire city benefits,” said Kasey St. John, co-crew leader of the Typros urbanist crew.

“That really just goes to show that we should really be united as one large community,” she said, “rather than having our separate parts of town, and really just showcasing what this part of town could be potentially.”

She led the push to locate this year’s Street CReD at the 36th Street North and Peoria location.

“I got to thinking, well, what do we hear in the news all the time, what parts of town do we hear that are maybe suffering or that maybe people don’t want to go to,” she said, “and what came up was North Tulsa, and I said, we have a real problem here.”

Marquetta Finley, President of the Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, understands those problems firsthand.

“We know that the unemployment rates are higher than for Tulsa overall,” she said. “With one zip code, there is like about 49 percent unemployment.”

Employment services are one of the core functions of the Urban League, especially for past offenders. Finley says the goal of Street CReD, to raise awareness about the desirability of the area for businesses, is on target.

“Either they don’t know or they don’t have the capital to get those kind of business ventures started,” she said, “or they feel like North Tulsa’s such a risk, in terms of bringing business. But there’s such great opportunity and potential.”

At the Event

Local vendors will be out with pop-up shops, fresh food will be available through a mobile grocery store and food trucks, and community and student groups will be providing entertainment, all in the hope of showing that 36th Street North and Peoria can have success in a way similar to the Pearl District.

“As an organization we certainly don’t take credit for everything that’s in there; a lot of the momentum was rolling,” said Brian Paschal, Typros Executive Director.

“But I do think what we did was help maybe progress it a little faster than it was going,” he said.

That’s the case for the Made shop. Crowe says for he and his wife, the shop’s co-owner and visionary, the event lent a new perspective.

“I saw a real community here; I saw something bringing people together,” Crowe said.

Street CReD is 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturday at the northwest corner of 36th Street North and North Peoria.

A shuttle will run from Guthrie Green downtown to the site at 36th Street North and Peoria, to provide transportation and highlight public transit needs and potential.