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Northeast Oklahoma City area declared blighted

by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: July 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm •  Published: July 30, 2014
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King’s Crossing, NE 23 and Martin Luther King Ave., will be anchored by an Uptown Market, with other tenants to include a medical complex and an education component. Drawing provided
King’s Crossing, NE 23 and Martin Luther King Ave., will be anchored by an Uptown Market, with other tenants to include a medical complex and an education component. Drawing provided

The study also showed 139 vacant and abandoned buildings per square mile in the study area, compared to 19 citywide.

“This shows people are leaving— a decline in investment,” Colgan said. “Decline in taxable market value has been stark.”

Unemployment for the area in 2012 averaged 11.6 percent, almost twice the citywide unemployment rate of 6.6 percent the same year. The city’s own investment also was shown to be lacking, with 30 percent of streets and infrastructure in poor shape.

Homicide, rape, robbery, assault, weapons, burglary, narcotics crimes were all rated higher than the rest of the city. The area is littered with contaminated properties and illegal dumping sites.

The study is being done as the area’s Ward 7 councilman, John Pettis, is leading the charge to change the area’s direction. The city, along with The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City, is working on creation of a tax increment financing district to rebuild the area and draw new development.

Those efforts include King’s Crossing at NE 23 and Martin Luther King Avenue — a $30 million development led by the owners of Buy For Less that will include a new 58,000-square-foot Uptown Market, other new retail and space for offices, a school and housing. Construction on the store is expected to start this winter.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist 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 Metropolitan...
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