Kendall Whittier Park Project Part Of Whole Neighborhood Revitalization

Tuesday, August 7th 2012, 7:19 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A Tulsa neighborhood got a boost with a development that's replacing run-down homes and connecting housing with education, from early childhood to college.

It's around what's going to be called the Kendall Whittier West Park.

The Kendall Whittier neighborhood is just east of downtown, and is sharing in a similar revitalization.

6/6/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Neighborhood Makes National Register Of Historic Places

The most visible project now is a new set of apartment buildings with 128 units, designed for people of all incomes.

This is what's planned for the design, which is part of a much larger project.

With many community leaders watching, The George Kaiser Family Foundation kicked off construction of the next element: a redesigned park that wraps around Kendall Whittier Elementary.

The Kaiser Foundation is contributing $18 million to the overall development.

TU Vice President Susan Neal said, "It's all about things that take a long time to happen, but when they happen, they are catalytic and transformational and that's what we hope will happen here."

TU's contribution to the project is new graduate student housing in a three-story building.

Small businesses and offices will be on the bottom floor.

Just east of there will be the gateway to the rebuilt public park, which TU has committed to maintain.

The revitalization of the Kendall Whittier West Park is the linkage that will connect the University of Tulsa with Educare, the new apartments and TU Graduate housing over on Lewis. The total cost of what's going to be built there is $36 million.

That includes the new park, apartments, the TU housing and the shopping area.

The seven-and-a-half acre project is speeding up the Kendall Whittier transformation.

"What I think can happen is that as this neighborhood picks itself up, with the help of folks like TU and Tulsa Public Schools and the Kendall Whittier Main Street Program and all these entities investing in it, you'll see the domino effect go throughout the city as other neighborhoods say, ‘We can do that too,'" said Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing.

The park project starts soon and the total development is planned to be done by late summer of next year.