Development, Sense of Place Unite in Rose District

Out & About in Greater Tulsa by EMILY RAMSEY
Managing Editor

WALKABLE DOWNTOWN: Broken Arrow’s Main Street has seen an explosion of growth and commercial development in the past seven years, thanks to city efforts to increase walkability and developers willing to invest in the city.

EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers

I moved from Broken Arrow to downtown Tulsa five years ago.

This was my first time living in a bustling area that afforded me various recreational and entertainment opportunities just beyond my doorstep.

So, when the weekend came, the last thing I ever expected to do was spend my evenings in downtown Broken Arrow. Never say never, as my mother often says.

If you grew up in Broken Arrow like I did, you would know that, just a decade ago, traffic pretty much disappeared on Main Street after 4 p.m.

Because all that you would find in downtown Broken Arrow is a few antique shops and one restaurant.
Main Street Broken Arrow, although many decades ago the epicenter of Broken Arrow, had long ago dissipated and was showing no signs of revitalization.

That is, until a small group of individuals decided to move toward change.

In 2011, Jason Scarpa started the movement by opening Main Street Tavern—a gutsy move considering the area’s lack of an evening draw.

In 2012, the first of many streetscaping projects began to make Main Street more walkable. Also in that year, the city rebranded the district as the Rose District.

There were grumbles along the way from shoppers and from shop owners regarding construction and lost sales revenue; city managers came and went, but progress continued.

I recently spent a Sunday afternoon exploring the shops in the Rose District, particularly those in Main Street Square, a retail area that sits at the corner of Main and Dallas streets.

Although Fleet Feet Sports is located at the front of the center, a parking lot separates it from the rest of the shops, which include a number of stores that I plan to regularly frequent, including Hops & Hangers, a two-story clothing shop with an interesting concept to merge shopping with a bar on its first floor. (Why hasn’t anyone else thought of this?)

Also, home decor shop Simplicity offers many unique finds, and Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop plans to open soon.

After that, I popped into Nouveau Chocolates for an iced mocha, which sits just down the street—a shop which has held its own, operating in downtown Broken Arrow since 2006.

Across the street are additional stores and restaurants; add to that the towering trees, the flowering rose bushes and the many pedestrian-friendly crossing areas, and B.A. (no bias, I promise) has become one of the more interesting and vibrant places to visit in Greater Tulsa.

Updated 11-07-2017

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