Work started Monday on a project to better connect some of the landmarks in Tulsa’s Greenwood District downtown.
The pathway will solve a problem created when the ballpark was built, blocking off walking access through part of Greenwood. The pathway will open that up, which is important now that interest is increasing in the history of Greenwood and the legacy of the race massacre.
Interest in Greenwood, and the Race Massacre Centennial, is fueling ideas to encourage historical tourism. The Pathway to Hope, where construction started Monday, is part of that, creating a new connection to allow people to walk between landmarks on Greenwood Avenue and John Hope Franklin Park.
“The second decline was when they built I-244 right through the middle of Greenwood, and all the businesses and homes that were destroyed, because of imminent domain,” Phil Armstrong, Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, said. “This Pathway of Hope is seen as bringing us back together, and rejoining the district, it will be this walking path.”
The Pathway to Hope is a spruced-up sidewalk, with benches and artwork along the block. It's sandwiched between OneOk Field, and I-244. The $5 million project involves excavating the berm alongside the highway and building a new retaining wall.
“That will leave room for about a 10-foot walking path from Greenwood to Elgin and lead you, if you start on Greenwood and walk west, it will lead to the John Hope Franklin Park,” Armstrong said.
A foundation and the stadium trust are paying for most of the project that's designed to reconnect a part of Greenwood that's long been divided.
It is expected to be done next spring, just as tourism builds with the approaching anniversary of the Race Massacre.