Collinsville sees rebirth of its downtown

COLLINSVILLE, Okla. - A rebirth of a downtown isn't just happening in Tulsa, the nearby community of Collinsville is making sure its old buildings are useful for years to come.

City and business leaders are working with store owners to improve the appearance of their buildings.

"Our mission is to preserve historic buildings," said Mary Risley, director of Collinsville Downtown Inc. "We have a grant program called Facade Grant. This is a program that enables the owners to bring their building back to its original design."

The hope is that improving the appearance of downtown buildings will lead to more economic activity, like the kind lifelong Collinsville resident Brad Francis remembers as a kid.

"We had doctors offices. We had department stores. We had many, many, many grocery stores," said Francis.

Collinville's mayor, Stan Sallee, said increased economic activity and development is already happening.

"You come to our downtown district and you get a feel for the old community and with new businesses," said Sallee.  

Risley said $13 million has been invested in Collinsville through rehabilitation programs.

About 25 downtown buildings have had some kind of rehabilitation work performed on them.

Ten buildings have been redesigned both inside and outside.

Risley said none of this would be possible if it weren't for the countless number of volunteers who help to redesign the buildings.

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