Land use and strategic development plan for Innovation District introducedPublished: Thursday, August 1, 2019 By: Staff Reports
Nearly 500 stakeholders participated in community outreach opportunities including community meetings, surveys, interviews and focus groups. Those participants frequently cited the Jewel Theatre, Douglass High School, the Henrietta B. Foster Center, Washington Park, and historic homes as key assets in the area. Keeping the historically black churches and schools in place was another concern expressed by the community.
“Working with the nearby residents was a concerted effort to make sure the adjacent neighborhoods’ concerns and desires were addressed as the Innovation District continues to grow and prosper”, said Cathy O’Connor, president of The Alliance for Economic Development.
“The Innovation District is home to jobs for people of all educational backgrounds, so we want everyone to feel welcome to seek employment opportunities,” she said. “We can create an environment with seamless integration between the neighborhoods and our innovation assets – a place where the people and the spaces fuel each other’s success. With these inclusive development strategies, we will increase jobs and economic security for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.”
Some of those assets should be updated, according to P+W’s study, though there’s also room for new additions.
According to the study, the best location for the first two phases of development are around the historic Stiles Circle and the Beacon of Hope. The key component of this development is Innovation Hall with a connecting plaza. Modeled after District Hall in Boston, Oklahoma City’s Innovation Hall would provide co-working and event space that would help bring the district together both inside and outside normal working hours.
Another update needed for the area, the planners found, was better connectivity within the district boundaries. Perkins + Will said one major connectivity need is to enhance the 10th Street highway bridge over Interstate 235. The expansion wouldn’t be a cap; rather, additional space for walking and cycling.
Besides new development, existing buildings were found to potentially be nodes for supporting innovation activities. P+W said the Henrietta B. Foster Center should