TULSA, Okla. - Tulsa's leaders are pushing forward on plans to improve Route 66.
One of those spots is the condemned Brookshire Motel that caught fire a few weeks ago. After the fire, firefighters found a man dead in one of the rooms.
The Route 66 Commission no longer wants to try to save elements of some of the buildings at the historic motel.
It's part of their overall effort to increase the value of this stretch of historic road in Tulsa.
Tulsa leaders said a section of 11th and Garnett where the Brookshire Motel has sat since the 1940s, serves as the eastern entry point for travelers driving Route 66 the traditional way.
Now, after years of neglect and a handful of fires, Amanda DeCort with the Route 66 Commission says they're done trying to restore parts of the motel.
"Pretty much the third fire was catastrophic to one of the major buildings on the site, there's already been a colossal fire in the office which is the most architecturally significant part of the site," DeCort said.
Those who live near 11th and Garnett say all of this is the news they've been waiting to hear for a while.
"It opens things up, and then maybe if someone comes and tears it down, clean it up a little bit, and then maybe someone will come in and invest in something worthwhile," Sharon McDaniel said.
DeCort says their focus is now on saving, and restoring, the old neon sign outside.
The commission has worked hard to make sure historic neon signs stand out along Route 66. She says their grant program for that purpose has now been in place for a year.
"Which is awesome, and we still have funding available when the economy starts moving again," DeCort said.
She says despite COVID-19, the commission and city are still pushing to make the necessary improvements like this, to attract people back to Route 66 when it's safe to do so.
"We really want to promote Route 66 in Tulsa, and Route 66 businesses, as clean and safe. We really want visitors to be able to enjoy Route 66. So, we're not slowing down, we're just doing it a little differently," DeCort said.
State and local leaders are also working on asset surveys of Route 66. It'll take inventory of the buildings and features along the road, to hopefully get more tax credits for them.