In Oklahoma City, a corridor is as commercial activity does
Proponents of shining up Interstate 240 want to encourage a distinctive commercial dynamic for a 4-mile stretch of the highway between I-44 and I-35.
Blame it all on my roots, but I'm especially sensitive to the words used to describe places.
I grew up on a farm east of Muldrow, a real farm, not a suburban or exurban “acreage.”
Muldrow was a small town of about 1,500 then, and is a small town of about 3,400 now. Do not call it a “village,” a “hamlet” or any other such faux quaint thing. It's a small town, although there are lots smaller.
When former Oklahoma State Cowboy star and NBA player Bryant “Big Country” Reeves was told he was going to “the city” for a basketball camp or something, he thought they meant Sallisaw, not Oklahoma City — and I totally understood.
So, when I look at the 11,250,000-cubic-foot Devon Tower, I think, Lordy, you could stack a LOT of hay in that, and I'll bet Bryant Reeves does, too! (That's 9-foot-tall ceilings times 50 floors of about 25,000 square feet each — it's a guesstimate, y'all.)
And my brain snaps — because to me, anything over 10 stories is a skyscraper.
Almost 30 years ago or so in college, when I heard someone on KSPI radio in Stillwater refer to the “Stillwater metropolitan area,” I scoffed off a column for The Daily O'Collegian makin' fun of the idea that a prairie college town, with a “skyline” defined by a grain elevator, the 12-story Kerr-Drummond Hall and (late) Willham Hall, twin dorms that came down in 2005, could be a “metropolitan area.” The radio guy replied that he meant it tongue-in-cheek. Maybe.
Then, 20 years ago when I was working at another paper in a pretty good sized-city, about 100,000 population, a business reporter who apparently had been to an urban planning conference or two started referring to a state highway that came through town, and had some businesses on it, as the “Such-and-Such Highway corridor.”
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