The City of Roses is earning its name once again. Downtown Broken Arrow’s arts and entertainment district is receiving a multi-million dollar makeover, and the area has a fresh moniker: the Rose District. The name is reminiscent of a time when train travelers could recall the city by the abundance of roses residents had planted.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to transform our downtown area into an intimate gathering space for Broken Arrow residents and visitors,” says Mayor Craig Thurmond.
Hopes are that the $3.7 million project will inject new life into the district by widening sidewalks, adding decorative lighting and traffic signals and landscaping the area to incorporate the new Rose District theme. Through these revitalization efforts, the city hopes to make the district a destination for both citizens and tourists.
Ultimately, the city wants to make up for the loss of sales tax revenue by keeping locals shopping and dining within the city limits. To accomplish this, the city hopes to attract new restaurants and shops to the area to give residents more choices. The sushi restaurant In The Raw has already moved in, and the hope is that more will follow.
“We would love to see more restaurants like In The Raw that complement our current establishments, as well as specialty stores owned by local entrepreneurs that have a love for and desire to be in Broken Arrow,” says Lisa Frein, director of downtown development.
Frein says the aim is to have more family-friendly events to encourage people to spend time downtown. A new underground electrical system will help the city host events more efficiently. The remodel, which began in June, should be completed sometime in November, just in time for holiday shopping.
“It has been a long and delicate process to get us to this point, but it was important that we involve the community, merchants and downtown stakeholders every step of the way,” says Broken Arrow City Councilor Jill Norman. “As a result, we feel we have put a plan together that best fits the needs and integrity of downtown Broken Arrow.”