Residents are starting to move into Tulsa’s mixed-income River West community as phase one nears completion.
There are 74 total units opening up, with 37 for residents of the old Riverview Park public housing torn down to make room for the new apartments. The goal is bringing together people from all walks of life in a transformed Eugene Field neighborhood.
"River West is a community of inclusion and unity. This is what creating a better Tulsa by transforming lives and community looks like in action," said Tulsa Housing Authority Board Chair Rick Neal.
Residents in good standing have first right to return to the new community. Monica Guinn lived at Riverview for 10 years and is moving back into River West. She said the kitchen is much better, and she’s looking forward to other amenities her 4-year-old grandson can enjoy soon.
"Us getting the extra resources as far as a pool, the activities building that they’re going to build that will help for adults and children both, and just having a lot more things for people to use," Guinn said.
Jaimee Collett lived at Riverview for five years and said she was afraid of drugs, crime and domestic violence there.
"There was just not a whole lot of people taking responsibility for their place and, like, really loving on it and saying, 'This is mine,' and being proud of where you lived. There wasn’t that happening, and I feel like that has changed a whole lot. And I know why. I know why, and I’m just very thankful," Collett said.
Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Executive Director Bill Major said a safe place to live is just the start.
"We must also work to provide access and resources so that residents of this community can pursue their goals and dreams in a stable and thriving neighborhood," Major said.
River West is supported by a $12 million grant from the foundation. It is Tulsa’s Choice Neighborhoods project and received a $30 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The development includes a mix of subsidized, tax credit and market-rate units and represents a $170 million total investment in affordable housing. Plans call for 460 total housing units, a grocery store, park renovations and extensive infrastructure improvements.