Route 66 Commission Working To Improve Tulsa’s 11th & Garnett

Monday, April 29th 2019, 9:12 pm
By: Brian Dorman

Our coverage of the high-crime motels at 11th and Garnett continues with a look at what the Route 66 Commission is doing to improve the stretch of Route 66 that runs through the intersection.

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“This section of 11th and Garnett area really serves as the eastern entry point for travelers doing Route 66 the traditional way from Chicago all the way out to Santa Monica,” Rhys Martin with the Route 66 Commission explained while standing outside the Brookshire Motel.

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Martin considers the Brookshire Motel, which was built in the 1940s and the Rose Bowl, which used to serve as a bowling alley, built in 1962 as the two anchor properties on that stretch of the 26 miles of Route 66 through Tulsa.

“The Brookshire Motel represents an era of American travel that’s mostly gone. These little roadside motels and places that more-and-more are getting demolished and this one are on its last legs. We would really love to see someone come in and save this property.”

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Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) has been working with the Brookshire since October 2016. WIN and the Tulsa Fire Marshalls office notified the owner of numerous code and fire violations. According to the city, the owner refused to make the necessary repairs to ensure the property was safe for occupancy. WIN determined the property was unsafe and boarded it up that same month.

Later, WIN also opened a demolition case on the property but because of its historical significance, they’ve been working with the Route 66 Commission to try to create a plan to keep the historical elements of the property intact.

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The Brookshire faced another setback in February 2019 when the main cottage on the property caught fire. Flames caused significant damage to the structure.

“Especially after the fire people feel, well, let’s just start over but again, these properties once they’re gone, they’re gone,” Martin said.

The Route 66 Commission hopes that the cottage can be salvaged and that someone would invest the time and money to reopen the property as a motel. Martin says he hopes more investments at 11th and Garnett will come.

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“You know Cherry Street if you went back through there in the 80’s people would drive through there as quick as they could and now it’s one of the most sought after commercial districts in town for business.”

The Brookshire Motel is currently for sale. We’ve been told that the owner is asking for $400,000 for the property. Down the street from the Brookshire, the Rose Bowl is under major renovations. The former bowling alley was gutted on the inside and is now serving as a youth community building.

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“The Rose Bowl is a beautiful mid-modern building just past 11th and Memorial. As you head into town and anybody’s who’s been over there knows the building stands out- it doesn’t look like anything else in the city,” Martin said.

Restoration efforts are underway on the inside and Martin says we can expect that same type of investment to be made the exterior as well.

Martin says it’s going to take everyone at 11th and Garnett working together to make real, long-lasting changes.

“We could pour all the money in the world into this and if the rest of the area doesn’t raise at the same time then it’s not going to make the difference we really want to make.”

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