TULSA - Tulsa's Young Professional are embarking on their third annual Street CReD redevelopment project. This year, the focus is on the city's north side at 36th Street North and N. Peoria Ave., the North Star neighborhood.
Revitalization and awareness efforts began Saturday morning at an old gas station at the corner of 36th Street North and N. Peoria Ave. where dozens of TYPros ripped overgrown brush from the cement, re-painted surfaces and prepped the area for a May event that will focus on healthier eating and the lack of public transportation in the area.
"We look at an area of town that could use a little pick-me-up, and we've chosen this area of North Tulsa due to the fact that it's a food desert. We're going to really focus on healthy eating," said Hillary Parkhurst, the 2013 Chair of Tulsa's Young Professionals.
The North Star community is labeled a food desert because there is not a grocery store within two miles, which makes access to fresh, healthy foods difficult for residents to obtain.
"Healthy living is number one. I mean, we have one of the most obese states in the United States, and we really want to try and help the youth, especially, so they can start great practices at a young age," Parkhurst said.
Jonathan Belzley, a TYPros volunteer working on the transportation side of the Street CReD project, says providing a transit shelter at the corner is essential to the area.
"Public transportation is critical for any city, and Tulsa needs to focus on the low-hanging fruit, the stuff we can improve upon. And once we do that, we can start to build ridership and people who might not use public transportation otherwise will--once it's convenient-- then they'll start to use it," Belzley said.
According to INCOG's Fast Forward Plan, the Peoria corridor, which includes the North Star neighborhood, connects to 20 percent of the city's jobs and carries more passengers than any other route in the city .
"There's all kinds of potential for this major corridor and intersection to become a really vital and healthy part of town. And we're only three miles from downtown, and three miles opposite of downtown is Brookside. There's no reason why this can't be this side of downtown's Brookside," he explained.
On May 11, the clean up work of the TYPros will culminate with a day of education and celebration. Nearly 30 community vendors have signed on to provide food, arts and crafts, entertainment, lessons in entrepreneurship and a bike tour of the area.
"We'll have a great area for our non-profit community, a kind of village that we'll have. We'll have lots of booths set up. There will be a great area for children to do arts and crafts projects and the book mobile from the library is coming out. We'll have a stage with lots of live entertainment from around the community and then a lot of food vendors," Parkhurst said.
This is TYPro's third Street CReD initiative, having put on similar functions in the Pearl District and Red Fork.