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Oklahoma City withdraws rezoning request for neighborhood

Residents of a historically black neighborhood in Oklahoma City objected to a proposal that would have limited development options in an area scheduled for expansion of the Oklahoma Health Center campus in northeast Oklahoma City.
by William Crum Published: February 12, 2013
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Oklahoma City has withdrawn a request to rezone a historically black northeast-side neighborhood that eventually is to be absorbed by the Oklahoma Health Center campus.

The 107-acre area bounded by NE 4 and NE 8 between N Lincoln Boulevard and N Lottie Avenue is south of the present Health Center campus.

As of last fall, there were still 100 homes in the area, 59 of them owner-occupied, and 18 church-owned lots. Entities including Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority own 54 percent of the 357 parcels.

In a series of meetings last fall and more than two dozen letters addressed to the city Planning Commission, residents opposed the idea of rezoning the entire neighborhood all at once.

They said they felt they were being discriminated against because of their race and that commercial zoning would limit their ability to sell their property at a fair price.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr., pastor of the East Sixth Street Christian Church, said residents accept the fact that the neighborhood will change as the Health Center grows.

“It's destroying another historic African-American neighborhood,” he said. “No one's trying to hit the lottery. All we want to do is be treated fairly.”

The Oklahoma Health Center campus comprises 28 medical agencies, including the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

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by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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