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National recognition of Paseo neighborhood is well-earned

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: October 16, 2010
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Those who live and work in and around Oklahoma City's Paseo district know well the transformation that has taken place there during the past several years. Now others are beginning to take note.

The American Planning Association this week named Paseo one of its "10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010." Among the others on the list were Hyde Park in Cincinnati, the Back Bay in Boston and the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic Neighborhood in Oak Park, Ill.

It's a well-earned honor for the Paseo, which three decades ago was as much an eyesore as anything else. Now it's a hub of artistic activity, with cozy eateries and clubs, wonderful historic architecture and brightly colored, Spanish-influenced storefronts. As a result, property values in the neighborhood have increased.

This is the first time an Oklahoma location has been cited by the American Planning Association. Susan Miller, an Oklahoma City planner, and longtime Paseo developer John Belt agree that much remains to be done. But the national designation is worth toasting, and as Miller noted is a validation of the city's approach to design review and mixed-use zoning.

"Hopefully the Paseo can build off this distinction and bring more residents and businesses into the area," Miller said. Amen to that.

Mushroom cloud
When it's not engaged in histrionics, the group backing State Question 744 wallows in silliness. Such was the case this week when a pro-744 spokesman claimed the unfunded mandate that 744 would create could be paid for by ending tax credits. He specifically mentioned a credit for developing a container to ship mushrooms. Most state business tax credits cost taxpayers nothing because no one's applying for them. The high-dollar credits are linked to jobs creation and came about to make Oklahoma competitive with other states that offer them. The teachers union backing 744 has little interest in creating jobs other than teaching positions. Scrutiny of tax credits is ongoing, as it should be, and is aimed at increasing revenues to fund existing state services — not the massive hit 744 would create. Ending business tax credits would pay for 744? Belief in that fantasy requires ingestion of a certain kind of mushroom.

Bidding farewell
When Jim Standard retired in 1995 after a long career at The Oklahoman as a top editor, reporter and columnist, he pursued the ministry, saying he felt called to preach. Former colleagues were surprised. Perhaps we shouldn't have been. In a column published Christmas Day 1994, Standard wrote about people of faith he had met and their work that had changed countless lives. "Acts of Christian charity often entail personal involvement," he said. So he did just that, becoming ordained and serving churches, the last of which was in tiny Atwood, in southeastern Oklahoma. Standard died this week at age 70. This morning the Atwood Baptist congregation he loved will bid farewell to a man whose second act in life was just as meaningful as the first one.

Wiggle room
It reminded us a little (OK, very little) of waiting for a football poll to come out or to see which teams are invited to The Big Dance and which will stay home.

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by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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