2013 was a big year for Midtown, OKC. The district gained new businesses such as Dry/Shop and Packard’s, new apartments with the addition of The Guardian and construction on the new Edge apartment complex and renovations began on the old Central High School for Oklahoma City University’s law school. We saw policies passed and money raised for making Midtown a “Quiet Zone” and the Midtown Plan added new guidelines for incoming business and current ones. Oh and this amazing blog called OKCMidtowner.com you should check out started this year.
With all this progress, it’s a fantastic time to live, work and play in the district. However there are a few things the area is lacking to serve the residents and business owners that truly desire a carless, urban experience. So we took it to the people to help us decide what the greatest needs are for Midtown. Find out what made the list after the jump.
1. Grocer and/or General Store
When we asked our readers and fellow Midtowners what their biggest needs and wants were, a grocery store seemed to top everyones list. Even a nice general store with produce and other items that expire quickly would be perfect instead of having to make the mass grocery run to Walmart or Whole Foods. The Homeland on Classen is the best bet to grab those last minute needs, but the prices on items there don’t make since and the produce is usually not that great. And it’s not in Midtown OK?
Now it probably won’t make sense for a small grocer to come into Midtown until more residents begin moving in, but people in Mesta Park and some of those who work downtown have also voiced their concerns and would benefit greatly from such a store. The farmer’s market across from St. Anthony’s had a great showing this year and is great for those wanting those once-a-week specialty items, but I think we could do more Midtown. There’s been rumor about a Sprouts coming into the area, but we will have to follow the guidance of Lord Lackmeyer to learn more I suppose.
2. Bike Lanes
It seems that the city is encouraging vehicular cycling as a quick fix to current bikers. But this doesn’t work for the slow bikers like the elderly, children and myself (New Year’s Resolution). Bike lanes and the installation of Spokies throughout downtown have encouraged people to bike instead of walk to spots, but we need to start connecting neighborhoods and other districts as well. Maybe instead of putting millions of dollars into a street car connecting Bricktown to Midtown, we could at the very least put bike lanes down certain streets that are currently dangerous to cross without using a cross walk (Broadway, Classen, I-235 bridges). Strength in numbers seems to be the only way to bring attention to this issue so if you think you can be safe enough, bike OKC.
3. More (Updated) Living Spaces
Now this is something that’s already on the ticket with the “The Edge” apartments coming in across from Waffle Champion also adding more retail space. It will be awesome to see more homes coming into the SoSA district as well as other empty lots. But let’s not forget the wonderful residents in West Midtown as some of them have been here longer than any of this renewal. Yet the west side of the district needs the most help and could use some general clean-up and support. Also, don’t be surprised if we start seeing rental fees go up.
4. Late Night Creative/Study Space
With an entire law school moving into Midtown with 300+ students, it’s about time we had some creative spaces to work in or at least a place to study that’s open later than 7. A number of people I know, including myself, work as freelancers and do their best work late at night. This would also help us introverts out a bit too.
Midtown does have creative space for rent like the super sexy “The 404” for tech freelancers, but we’re speaking study space for the price of a coffee or less.
Again, strength in numbers. The main issue this doesn’t exist is population density, but I would totally rather be writing this article at a coffee shop right now than in my lonely apartment.
5. Music Venue
This is where Uptown 23rd has improved. Not only do they have the great and historic Blue Note, but now with the addition of Grandad’s, Oklahoma City is slowly seeing an uptick in live music venues (Shoutout to ACM too but it just replaced the former Green Door minus the booze).
Midtown has had its share of outdoor music thanks to h&8th this year and with so many empty lots and parking lots, it would be great to do even more right here.
One could argue that Cafe Do Brasil is a music venue but not in the sense we’re speaking- where you literally are going to stand in a room near a stage to watch a band play. The addition of Tulsa’s Fassler Hall and the Dust Bowl will fill this void and one can only hope that others will follow. Now if we could only recreate Cain’s Ballroom somehow…
As you can see, this will all take making your voice heard and just doing what you love in Midtown. If you think we missed something or are just plain idiots, please feel free to share your opinion in the comments or elsewhere. And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much for all your support this year. Let’s make resolutions to better our communities!
Here were some other honorable mentions for wants and needs of Midtown, OKC: