A Tulsa pastor's dream of revitalizing North Tulsa was cut short two years ago, when he was gunned down outside a Tulsa elementary school. But Neaco Padillowâ€™s dream didn't die with him, Saturday it became a reality.
News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says Neaco Padillow remembered the days when Zion Plaza thrived as a center of the community. It was his dream to bring the strip mall back to its glory days.
And Saturday, it took its first step from blighted to booming. Gone are the boarded windows and the weeds coming up through the concrete. The store fronts have been cleaned inside and out and some are even ready for business.
A computer store and a restaurant called The Dining Room officially opened Saturday.
But more tenants will be moving in soon, including a clothing store and beauty salon.
All of the growth is taking place in the shadow of Neaco Padillow's memory. His church has a place in the strip mall as well as the economic development corporation he founded.
Neaco Padillow's brother Greg Hawkins spear-headed the effort to keep his brother's dream alive.
Rev Greg Hawkins, Zion Economic Development: "It wouldn't die because we wouldn't allow it. You know and even though Pastor Neaco was gone, his spirit was still with us. And we were so determined we weren't gonna let his vision fall to the ground."
This is only the first step towards a revitalized Zion Plaza.