By EMILY RAMSEY
ROSEY FUTURE: Patsy Terry, owner of Arrow Flowers, hopes to see new and different shops and restaurants be drawn to Main Street as the area embraces its new name, the Rose District, and new construction begins, including widening sidewalks to encourage more outdoor festivals and foot traffic.
EmILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Broken Arrow’s downtown has a new name.
The Broken Arrow City Council approved the Rose District as downtown’s new name at the Oct. 16 meeting.
“The new name will do a lot for the area,” says City Councilor Jill Norman. “People will come to identify this area of Main Street, between Ft. Worth and College, as the Rose District.
“It’s also a way for us to respect our history.”
Years ago, Broken Arrow was known as the city of roses because of the large amount of rose bushes found throughout the city. Various local organizations have offered to plant rose bushes to bring back that historic identity.
Other previously-suggested names were the Elam District, the Red Brick District, the Depot District and Old Town District.
A subcommittee was established in January 2011 to determine a name for the newly established arts and entertainment district along Main Street.
“The average age in Broken Arrow is 34 years old,” Norman says. “That 34-40 age group is going to Tulsa for Brookside, the Blue Dome and the Brady districts. We want to bring that same sense of identity to our downtown area.”
The City Council also approved a new streetscape for downtown, which will include widening the sidewalks and narrowing the street to three lanes with a middle turn lane. Angled parking will remain.
A raised crosswalk will be added in the middle of the block to create more of a walking environment, Norman says. The decreasing of traffic lanes from two each way to one and the middle crosswalk will help to slow traffic.
Widening of the sidewalks will also allow more room for outside seating for restaurants and more ability to have art shows outside.
In the future, city officials will look for ways to increase downtown parking options, such as the parking lot behind the farmers market area and using bank parking lots after hours.
Norman and most of the local shopkeepers hope that this streetscape and naming plan will bring new shops and restaurants to the area.
“We just need to move forward,” says Patsy Terry, vice president of the Main Street Merchants Association and 11-year owner of Arrow Flowers. “My concern is getting viable, vibrant merchants on Main Street. I just want to see more new stores and see Main Street become a destination point.”
“In the past, I have been approached by businesses that want to come to downtown,” says Norman, “but sometimes they would be hesitant to make the move because downtown didn’t yet have the look they wanted. I hope now with these new plans, this will spark their interest again.”
Norman hopes the new plans will bring more festivals downtown as well.
Recently artists wanted to set up on sidewalks for a festival but there was not enough room, she says.
One festival that will be coming to Main Street and has been coming for many years is the 19th-annual Holiday Tea-Off, Nov. 8, 6-9 p.m. Merchants will open their doors for this free event, which will run on Main Street from 71st to 91st. There will be music, entertainment, trolley rides, a horse-drawn carriage and Santa Claus.