Okmulgee, Oklahoma was your typical small town in its state. An oil boom sent a wave of optimism running through the town in the 1970s, and the later oil bust brought it to its knees.
Unlike many small towns, Okmulgee didn't simply fold under the pressure of hard economic times.
Specifically, it became one of the many Oklahoma "Main Streets" via the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Today, the city can boast of:
- 200 historic rehabilitations
- 109 new businesses
- 144 new jobs
- a decline in vacancy rate from 50 percent to 10
- and finally, an average commercial space rental rate that has more than doubled on average
Another case study of how preservation pays, Okmulgee can be explored further by clicking here.
The reason I present it to you is that there's a beautiful, concise quote--one that I'd like hearing from St. Louisans' mouths rather soon.
“Gone are the days when we would sit back and react to bad news. Now we go out and make good things happen.”If the declining dust bowl can do shape up, so can we!
Linda S. Milligan, board chair, Okmulgee Main Street