After covering the renaissance of downtown Oklahoma City for the past 16 years, I've come to realize an urban reinvention requires vision, creativity, hard work, thinking outside the box, nostalgia and a bit of revisionist history.
Yes, that's right — revisionist history.
Consider that before residents began to truly enjoy the fruits of the first Metropolitan Area Projects passed in 1993, they talked about a downtown they thought had been lost forever.
They talked about a Main Street populated with great shops, department stores, restaurants and theaters.
They talked about an old-fashioned urban neighborhood where one worked, lived and played — all with the benefit of a streetcar system that allowed folks to get around without a car.
Within the next few years, a streetcar system will be back downtown thanks to MAPS 3. And in Deep Deuce, one can already live in a variety of rental and for-sale homes, dine in a growing number of restaurants, and do grocery shopping at the new Native Roots Market or buy wine soon at Deep Deuce Wines. And when the Aloft Hotel opens next year, don't be surprised if it includes more dining and shopping opportunities.
Deep Deuce represents the realization of a memory that did — and did not — really exist.
Memories vs. reality
In researching downtown over the past decade, it becomes apparent that housing in downtown was quite limited in its prior glory days.
Deep Deuce through the 1960s was a segregated neighborhood — but certainly excluded from what was going on in the rest of downtown. Other neighborhoods like Heritage Hills and what is now MidTown were close to downtown — but not in the heart of it all.