BA’s Rose District Named ‘Charming Main Street’
By EMILY RAMSEY
LOCAL FESTIVITIES: Individuals enjoy the fourth annual Shamrock the Rose, a St. Patrick’s Day block party held along Main Street on March 10. Broken Arrow’s Main Street was recently highlighted in USA Today as one of 50 Charming Main Streets across the country.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Broken Arrow’s Rose District was recently recognized by Today as one of 50 Charming Main Streets across the country.
According to its website, the list features a “nostalgic and cozy” Main Street from each of the 50 states. Other cities on the list include Breckenridge, Colorado; Holland, Michigan; Franklin, Tennessee; and Park City, Utah.
“The national recognition is really awesome to see because of all the hard work the Broken Arrow City Council, staff and the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and the Broken Arrow school district have put into revitalizing Main Street,” says Broken Arrow Mayor Craig Thurmond. “Our residents and business owners should also be proud. They supported the public initiatives that allowed our Main Street to become successful.”
In 2017, over $400,000 in tax revenue was collected from the Rose District, an increase of $11,000 five years ago.
“The Rose District has become a place to come and take in the sights and enjoy the atmosphere that has been created here,” says Alisa Inglett, who opened her art and framing shop Your Design in downtown Broken Arrow seven years ago.
The three picture windows at the front of her store allow her ample opportunity to view the regular line of vehicle and pedestrian activity that takes place outside, she says.
“People love to come downtown and make a day of it here, visiting the restaurants and shops.”
The revitalization of the Rose District began seven years ago. The city created a Tax Increment Financing () District for downtown Broken Arrow to begin funding improvements; voters later approved General Obligation bonds in 2011 and 2014 to continue improving key infrastructure.
Public projects, worth over $65 million, included the renovation of historic buildings, the construction of the 1,500-seat Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center, a new pavilion to hold a farmer’s market and community gatherings, a 1,200-square-foot interactive water feature, brick paved sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, decorative street lamps and landscape planters.
Several months ago, city officials added speakers and music that plays continuously along Main Street in an effort to create further ambiance in the district, says Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce President and Wes Smithwick.
As the city and chamber put their focus on downtown, private sector funding followed, as many new business, with expenditures of over $25 million, relocated into the once-declining district. An additional $60 million in private development is currently on its way, including an $18-million mixed-use development located on the northern end of Main Street that will break ground later this year, through a partnership with Milestone Capital. The four-story facility will feature 31,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor with approximately 90 luxury apartment units on the three upper levels.
“In the beginning, we believed this project would be a success, and it has been. We are far from seeing the end of all that will come to the area, and that is exciting for the entire community,” continues Smithwick.
He expects in the future to see the start of many residential projects—“There’s a pent-up demand for people who want to move downtown”—and additional offices opening along and around Main Street in order to increase the amount of daytime activity in the area.