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North Tulsa church awarded $1.6 million to study removal of I-244 from Greenwood

Community leaders gather at North Peoria Church of Christ on Friday, March 3, 2023
Elizabeth Caldwell
Community leaders gather at North Peoria Church of Christ on Friday, March 3, 2023

A north Tulsa church beat out both the city of Tulsa and the state department of transportation for a federal grant.

The North Peoria Church of Christ was awarded $1.6 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to run a study examining the feasibility of removing the leg of Interstate 244 that divides Greenwood.

State Rep. Regina Goodwin said at a meeting Friday she and other community leaders have specific hopes for the approximately 30 acres of land that could be cleared.

“We do not want to open up Greenwood for further gentrification. We want to open it up for restoration. We want to open it up for housing and small businesses should that expressway come out,” said Goodwin.

Cody Brandt, who wrote his thesis at Georgetown University on highway removal, said the team involved has been discussing how to benefit community members whose houses were taken through eminent domain when the interstate was first built.

“A lot of times the eminent domain process was done very aggressively in a manner meant to acquire properties under market value. So it’s like, how do we find people that were affected by this so many years ago, and bring them into a community land trust so they can benefit from the redevelopment of the neighborhood as well?” said Brandt.

Assistant Preacher David Watkins said the church will next review guidelines for the feasibility grant to determine how to move forward with partnerships.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.