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Questions and Answers - Dead Trees, Mosquitoes and Barbershops

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: August 22, 2013

Answers to questions asked, questions set to be asked:

Question: What’s up with the stagnant water being allowed to sit at the corner of NW 10 and Hudson where the old Red Cross Building stood?

Answer: This property was bought several months ago by the Midtown Renaissance Group led by Bob Howard, Mickey Clagg and Chris Fleming. They did some clearance work and site clean-up, and were surprised to learn that the debris buildings that stood there in decades past hidden beneath the soil. That created a crater that the developers figured would stay dry in a traditional Oklahoma summer. Of course, this summer was anything but traditional, and we even saw flooding in July. Go figure. The developers were planning all along to move excavated dirt from across the street when they build Fassler Hall and Dust Bowl starting this fall. Hopefully the water and mosquitoes will soon become a faded memory.

Question: Why were 14 great old trees cut down along NW 13 and Broadway?

Answer: Wait. You say you’ve not asked this question? Yeah, but you will. Here’s the deal; for more than a decade, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and Dolese have maintained Campbell Park, the three-acre public park located on the east side of Broadway between NW 13 and W Park Place. Foundation director Nancy Anthony advises the trees were recently surveyed by an arborist with the City of Oklahoma City and he identified 14 trees that are dead or dying. The foundation is following the recommendation to remove the trees. Anthony says the foundation and Dolese remain committed to maintaining the park.

Question: Will the Oklahoma City RedHawks or the city itself ever address the dying Bradford Pear Trees along the south side of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark?

Answer: Yes. And here’s some history for you. Way, way back … back in the days when MAPS was not looked on favorably by the populace, it was common for projects to be listed as “over budget” and “behind schedule.” Such was the case with the ballpark, which had to be redesigned when the first bids came in several million dollars over budget.

A lot has been learned since then. But one thing that was handled poorly was the decision by the city engineer to skip providing irrigation for the tree wells. The city advised the team’s owners at the time not to plant Bradford Pear trees, and to instead plant crepe myrtles. That advice was ignored. We all also know that planting Bradford Pears is about as good an option as planting a Cottonwood. It’s a no-no. So one of the most photographed sections of our city, one shown repeatedly on national television thanks to the Thunder, has been lined with half dead Bradford Pear Trees the past several years. Yes, several years. And every time I asked about it, I got vague answers from the city and team. Finally a resolution is near. The city tapped into the downtown tax increment finance district this past year when it became apparent that Bricktown would likely remain a net contributor to the fund, and dedicated some money to addressing troubled street landscaping and gaps in sidewalks. I am told by my friends at Downtown Oklahoma City Inc. that the Bradford Pears are set to become history and will be replaced within the next few months with crepe myrtles.

Question: What happened to The Barber Salon in the Braniff Building?

Answer: The Barber Salon, owned by Jamie Rush and originally located at First National Tower, opened in the Braniff Building earlier this year. At the time, Rush’s New York-style barbershop was recruited by SandRidge to open side by side with Kitchen No. 324. A grand opening was set for May 21 – one that was scaled down when the south metro was devastated by tornadoes the day before. The barbershop closed a few weeks ago, with the following statement posted on Rush’s website: “Because sometimes life can change our directions and family is so important the decision has been made to close The Barber Salon and relocate out of the OKC area. Special appreciation to SandRidge for understanding just how important family is to us.”


by Steve Lackmeyer
Reporter Sr.
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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