5th Street set to close in Muskogee Wednesday to improve safety around federal courthouse

MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- Tuesday was the last day for cars to drive and park on 5th Street between Okmulgee and Broadway.

Muskogee is blocking off this section outside of the federal courthouse. It's a conversation that started after the Oklahoma City bombing, and took years to put into action.

"That's something that made us all take extra precautions and I think the further you can get some bad people away from hurting other people the better off we all are," said Lee Ann Langston, who owns multiple businesses off of 5th Street.

Muskogee's assistant city manager hopes trading cars for foot traffic will improve revenue in the neighborhood.

"Anything that you do that helps your appearance is going to try to help draw more and more business. That's our goal, is to make sure that our downtown is flourishing, and thriving, and good for our community," Mike Stewart said.

The plan went through the state's general service's administration. The GSA launched the proposal in 2016, and city councilors approved the plan last year. Langston was a councilor from 2012 to 2016, and said this project was a priority for years.

"At one time we talked about maybe working with the federal officials in getting a green space there where it would be walkable and stuff like that," she said.

The road will be blocked on either side, and filled with brick as a walking path in the middle. There will also be planters in the place of current parking spots.

This follows suit of Tulsa County, who blocked the area outside of their federal courthouse shortly after the 1995 bombing.

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