Revitalization in Tulsa’s Kendall Whittier neighborhood is attracting national attention.
Kendall Whitter Main Street is one of 10 semifinalists for a 2019 Great American Main Street award. Main Street America noted in its announcement Tuesday the vacancy rate in the area has gone from 65 to 3 percent exclusively through local businesses.
"The business owners and property owners here, their work is being recognized and their faith and effort is really paying off in a way that’s a model for other communities around the country," said KWMS Executive Director Ed Sharrer.
Main Street America's semifinalist announcements also highlighted the ratio of private to public investment KWMS is bringing in: $39 in private investment for every $1 in public funds.
The awards consider a holistic approach to revitalization including historic preservation and partnerships, not just economic efforts.
"We host events that bring people to the neighborhood on a frequent basis. We work with property owners to help them out with rehabs. We offer a little incentive thanks to some underwriters for a facade grant," Sharrer said.
While there's no prize with the award, Sharrer said they can help bring more people into the community.
"Nationally, there are people that are heritage tourists that if they have the opportunity to stop in a community off the beaten path that’s a Great American Main Street award winner, it means a lot in helping them make that turn off the highway," Sharrer said.
Winners of the Great American Main Street Awards will be announced in March.