No matter where I travel, nearly everyone I meet shares something in common: A love of home. It is a hometown pride that can often take a strong prescription of rose-colored glasses. But unlike successful personal relationships where we overlook a loved one’s flaws, overlooking your hometown’s shortcomings can be disastrous.
I live in an historic neighborhood that borders Oklahoma State University. Built in the 1930’s, it has parks and boulevards of what where well-maintained, tree-lined streets. Recently though, a troubling trend emerged. Family homes were quickly being bought up by out-of-town investors; turning them into rental property. In an effort to make a quick buck, landlords subdivided rooms cramming as many students in as possible. With no place to park, lawns became parking lots and my quaint, easy neighborhood began to spiral downward quicker than I could have ever imagined.
Many of my neighbors moved away, but others decided our neighborhood was worth saving. What started as a grassroots effort, has evolved into a proposed conservation district. Just as you would protect vulnerable eco-systems, they hope to preserve what is Stillwater’s last remaining historical neighborhood. Their efforts are not alone. Across the state, people are realizing maintaining older neighborhoods is a wonderful form of recycling. In today’s video blog, I want to take you to a similar neighborhood in Oklahoma City that is finding new life.