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Can established downtown Oklahoma City businesses coexist with festivals, food trucks?

The Oklahoma City Council will be asked today to weigh the interests of Bricktown merchants against those of a for-profit art festival when it comes to closing a major street for a weekend this summer.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: February 8, 2011 at 5:42 am •  Published: February 8, 2011
/articleid/3538996/1/pictures/1365853">Photo - Workers remove tents as the Festival of the Arts comes to an end in Oklahoma City, OK, Monday, April 26, 2010. By Paul Hellstern
Workers remove tents as the Festival of the Arts comes to an end in Oklahoma City, OK, Monday, April 26, 2010. By Paul Hellstern

It's of interest that city staff is recommending the application be approved. Would they make a similar recommendation to shut down Memorial Road by Quail Springs or Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Penn Square Mall for a commercial entity as well?

Organizers of the arts festival argue their event will increase business for the merchants, though there is no indication of increased sales for merchants during last year's festival.

This sort of conflict goes beyond special events. Over the past year downtown has seen a surge, and then a pullback, of food trucks from popular restaurants lining up along Park Avenue.

The conflict again comes up — should a mobile food operation with no investment downtown be allowed to park in front of established restaurants with far more at risk?

Supporters of food trucks and events like the arts festival say such street life is critical to bringing more people to downtown. Somewhere in the middle of all this the ultimate solution lies as Oklahoma City finds one new wrinkle after another in its journey to becoming a big league city.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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Steve Lackmeyer has covered downtown for The Oklahoman since 1996 and is the author of three books: “OKC Second Time Around,” “Bricktown” and “Skirvin.” His column, OKC Central, can be read every Tuesday in The Oklahoman's business section. For more updates and information, visit his blog at and follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook at”


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