Development of the old Children's Medical Center site along I-44 in Tulsa

Friday, February 18th 2005, 1:32 pm
By: News On 6

Construction on a new shopping area just off I-44 is well underway. Long known as the empty Children's Medical Center site, the area will soon be bustling with new businesses.

The News on 6's Heather Lewin says crews have been at the site for months prepping the land for building. One business is almost ready for opening day, but not everyone in the area is excited about it.

It may be just piles of dirt now, but developers have a vision for this long unused site. A string of stores and restaurants catering to consumers along I-44. One business is already setting up shop. General Manager of Best Buy, Rich Kerr: "Looking at the population and the area around they felt like midtown would be a good place to put another store. Basically, just to serve this side of Tulsa and take care of the midtown area."

Business owners say being in such a high traffic area will bring more foot traffic to their stores. The I-44 expansion project will soon make that even easier with an improved Yale intersection and a wider access road.

Builders say that will ease the traffic flow, but some residents just behind the development don't want it flowing into their neighborhood. Nearby homeowner Harlan Harris: "I hear it from about 6:30-7 in the morning until 9 sometimes 10 at night." Harris admits he wasn't too thrilled about the idea of anything going in next door, but when construction began on the shopping center; he says his property turned into a swamp. "My backyard never flooded, ever since they moved in, I've had nothing but flooding problems I mean right now it hasn't rained in awhile and my backyard is still saturated and flooded."

Harris says he and his neighbors are also wondering if they'll ever see a promised 8 foot concrete barrier behind the stores. Engineers say the fence is coming and that they've already responded to the water concerns with a new drainage ditch to reverse the flow.

Whether you consider it progress or a problem, stores here will be opening soon. Best Buy is set for next Friday and is soon to be joined by Bed, Bath and Beyond. Total site construction should be finished by 2006.