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OKC Central: Revisionist history is part of the mix in visioning Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce

Steve Lackmeyer: The rise of Deep Deuce as the first truly mixed-use urban neighborhood in Oklahoma City and how its success is partially based on a memory that isn't completely real.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: November 20, 2012

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.

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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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