Former Tulsa high school football star helping rebuild his old neighborhood

Tuesday, August 10th 2004, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

He's living his dream on the football field, but now Chicago Bears football star R.W. McQuarters is making another dream come true on a different sort of field.

Not far from Tulsa's Booker T. Washington, where McQuarters played high school football, is a vacant lot, where his development company is going to build a new shopping center.

News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says the remarkable thing about the lot near Pine and Peoria, is that just two years ago, there was nothing.

Now residents are looking forward to the latest development that will be going in here. "I have seen so much happen over here, I mean so much." 70-year-old Jacqueline Anderson has seen good and bad. There were many times she thought about moving.” Because it looked like the drug dealers were taking over. And it really had me scared, because sometimes you couldn't hardly sit on the porch."

“And now is the time that we're making some moves and we're turning some things around." The News on 6 caught up with R.W. McQuarters at the Chicago Bears training camp, where he says he was worried about the condition of his old neighborhood in Tulsa. "You don't thing nothing of it until you get older and you think, you can make a difference and you can make a change and you go out there and do it."

It's just an empty field, but a driveway tells you there used to be something here, the older folks say it was a shopping center, and they're happy there's going to be another one here.

Paradise Plaza will be a large, upscale development with restaurants, a bank, convenience store, dry cleaners, and offices.

Even as McQuarters is working hard to reclaim the starting job he lost last season, he still finds the time to try to reclaim his old neighborhood.

"I think it's marvelous. I really do. I think it's wonderful, for him to come back and put his money in the community.”

McQuarters: "It's really about being able to feel good about your community; you have to feel good about where you live and where you are. To see things, to see, y'know, establishments and not a bunch of boarded up buildings."

McQuarters’ shopping center is just north of the new Albertson's and the new Sonic on North Peoria. The McQuarters group will make their official announcement in a couple of weeks.