Tulsa's Kendall-Whittier Neighborhood Serves As Role Model For 11th & Garnett


Tuesday, May 14th 2019, 5:38 pm
By: Brian Dorman


As we conclude our series on the high-crime motels at 11th and Garnett, we’re taking a closer look at the hope for that area.

Tulsa City Councilors, Connie Dodson (District 6) and Crista Patrick (District 3) both represent the neighborhoods surrounding 11th and Garnett. They find some of the hope for the future at 11th and Garnett in the transformation in the Kendall-Whittier area.

“I remember when we had the adult bookstores and some of that criminal element and some of the same things that are going on at the 11th and Garnett area, and we would really like to see this as a model to transition that area as well," Dodson said.

Now when you visit Kendall-Whittier, you're drawn in by the Art Deco, friendly faces and dogs on leashes. From a green space that offers several free events a month, to a corner coffee shop, a renovated Circle Cinema, bookstore and Bobby Pins salon.

“It was an up-and-coming area, and it was a more art creative vibe,” Bobby Pins Stylist, Meghann LaBerge said.

LaBerge has been working at Bobby Pins for nearly a year and can sense the turnaround.

“It was like deserted, and they wanted to see life brought back to it.”

LaBerge tells us she’s proud that the city councilors are taking a look at the progress and success story of Kendall-Whittier and that it feels good that the inspiration from Kendall-Whittier could spark change in other high-crime areas of the city.

“I think that when people say enough-is-enough - they’re tired of living in fear. I think that they’re just ready to make a stand and say, 'you know what? I miss having a community, a team of people, a neighborhood I can wave to my neighbors and it be okay.'”

The councilors say they’ve been really impressed with the transformation Kendall-Whittier has made over the past several years. In fact, Councilor Patrick represents a section of 11th Street that runs right through the heart of the district. She’s inspired by the spirit and the attitude that homeowners, business owners and developers have had. She can see the resemblances in the attitudes of those living, working and starting businesses at 11th and Garnett.

“They’ve gotten to the point where they’re ready. They’re ready to say, okay this is our home, and you can’t be here anymore and they’re ready to create something,” Patrick said.

Dodson agrees, saying through the conversations she has had with those in her district a change is wanted, and working together - they think now is the time.

“Clearly, the transition is wanted. You’ve got the residents and the business owners that are not the motels and hotels that are wanting that transition and between them and the pressure from the city hopefully, we’re going to get some good changes in their near future," Dodson said.

Dodson and Patrick both have dreams for the section of Route 66 that runs through 11th and Garnett. They both quickly started throwing out ideas: a green space, place for kids to play, antique car museum, pop-up shops, a work space for entrepreneurs, a burlesque venue, and a dance club all came to mind. They also really liked the idea of creating several breweries along Route 66 that could serve as a tourist destination.

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