Residents of the area around 61st Street and Peoria Avenue are choosing a name for their neighborhood as they work to change its reputation for crime and violence.
The options are Mountain View, Hope Avenue, Riverwood Village, Hope Valley, Sunrise or Riverwood Square. The name will refer to the currently unnamed area from 56th Street to 65th Street and from Riverside Drive to three blocks east of Peoria Avenue.
"It's about coming up with an identity selected by residents that they can be proud of rather than the names that are associated with these parts of town, so many of which have really ugly, negative connotations and remind us of some of our historic scars," said City Councilor Ben Kimbro, who represents the area.
Marshall Elementary students on Monday were the first voters on a name for the area. Community leader Stephanie Lewis has lived at Savanna Landing — formerly Fairmont Terrace — four years. She’s tired of violence in the area and said getting kids involved in picking a name for their neighborhood will make them more invested in changing it for the better.
"I see a lot of younger kids on Facebook, in the news, doing a lot of things. You know, stopping bullying and different little things," Lewis said. "They can do a lot once they put their mind to it."
Tulsa Police Officer Amley "Popsey" Floyd said he has a challenge for Tulsans who sees the naming as only symbolic.
"If that name change doesn't change anything for you, what can you do to invest in the lives of someone who — a kid who has to go to school here, a senior citizen who has to live here — what can you do to invest in their life so the symbolic turns into something physical?" Floyd said.
The City of Tulsa received a $500,000 federal grant for community-based crime reduction in the area. Residents held a block party last month to kick off work to change the neighborhood.