Bixby Museum Move to be Proposed

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DOWNTOWN ADVOCATES: Downtown property owners Red Stevenson, left, and Marty Fouch stand in front of the Shaner building that sits to the east of Scott’s Hamburgers on Dawes Avenue. Fouch will soon make a proposal to turn the building into the location of the Bixby Historical Society and Museum.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

Downtown Bixby property owners Marty Fouch and Red Stevenson know that downtown Bixby is on its way towards a resurgence. Based on that belief, Fouch and Stevenson know exactly what needs to happen soon: the relocation of the historical society and museum to the center of downtown Bixby.

Two years ago, Fouch purchased the 10,000-square-foot building, which sits to the east of Scott’s Hamburgers, on Dawes Avenue. The building had previously been used as storage units, he says. “I bought it because I would like to see it become useful and beneficial for the city.” He feels it is a prime location for the historical society’s headquarters.

“I’ve been personally thinking about this for some time,” says Fouch, a Bixby native and facilities manager for Bixby Public Schools, “but I hadn’t involved anyone else in it yet.”

However, after receiving positive feedback from locals, including Stevenson who shares Fouch’s enthusiasm, Fouch decided to have plans drawn up and will make a proposal in the coming months.

The historical society’s current location, on the corner of McKennon Avenue and Montgomery Street, is off of the downtown area and made up of several small buildings, says Fouch. “It doesn’t lend itself well to a museum.”

However, Fouch’s building sits in a high-traffic location and offers the society and museum “plenty of room to grow,” he believes. In addition, the building was built in 1917—”where else should the historical society be located than in an historic building?” says Stevenson.

Fouch and Stevenson agree that activity is what the historical society and museum needs to be surrounded with. “Otherwise, it’s gonna die off,” Stevenson says. “The society should be located. . . in the hustle and bustle of downtown.”

Downtown Bixby has seen gradual growth over the years, with various businesses such as Stacy’s Hair Design, Farmer’s Insurance, a catering company, Scott’s Hamburgers and a recently opened restaurant.

One large addition that contributed to downtown’s move in the right direction came 12 years ago when the school district purchased the nearly 20,000-square-foot building at 109 North Armstrong Street. Before the school bought the building, “you could shoot a bullet through downtown and not hit a car,” says Stevenson, who owns nearby property. “We need something else like that to come down here.”

Last year, Inspire Performing Arts, 200 N. Armstrong St., opened a 10,000-square-foot facility. Stevenson’s residence and office sit across the street. “That is a big building that has come downtown and has helped activity,” he says. Judging by the amount of students, “the studio looks to doing better every day.”

With the addition of Bentley Sports Complex, Fouch is certain that new businesses and increased traffic are on their way to downtown. He also cites the areas of open land available for development. “Once people realize the traffic that’s coming out here, the businesses will come downtown, and the land will be used,” he says.

Updated 10-28-2013

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