The Tulsa World has an article up about recent moves by the Tulsa Development Authority to entice a new investor into replacing the grocery store formerly operated by Albertson’s, at Pine and N Peoria. This is great news, since there are no other full-size grocery stores on the north side of town – a huge nutrition barrier. The authority had required another parcel of the land to be developed by November 2009, but that requirement has been pushed back five years. Commonsensical enough, no? If you can’t keep a grocery store open in the location, it doesn’t make much sense to require a grocery store + more new development (though new development is needed).
For some reason I decided to risk my hopefulness for the area to be deflated by the inane commenters of TulsaWorld.com. What a mistake…
North side is neglected. but why spend money in an area of town that does not step up and show they deserve it? I would really like to see North Tulsa residents develop some sort of community group that spearheads bring festivals or some other type of event to bring people to the north side. Also hold meetings to bring down crime in certain areas of the North side. The north side will be what you make of it.
Huh? First off, I had no idea that people “deserve” grocery stores. I live off Cherry Street, where nearby grocery stores and farmers’ markets are abundant. But I sure haven’t lifted a finger to earn them. Perhaps my grocery privileges should be taken away. Second, I was unaware that event-organizing community groups were responsible for selling me my fresh produce. If that is so, how come there aren’t grocery stores downtown (Mayfest, BOK Center) or in the Eugene Field area (Riverwest Festival Park, Oktoberfest). I guess those people have moral failings of a different kind that inhibit the bestowal of grocery store honors.
Third, in case my point isn’t yet clear, people don’t earn grocery stores. They shop in them or seem likely to shop in them, and therefore grocers like to locate near these customers. Fourth, grocers don’t have an obligation to locate in a particular area. The problem in North Tulsa isn’t that grocers should locate there out of the goodness of their hearts (as if there isn’t a strong enough market for a grocery store), it’s that they can make marginally more profitable investments elsewhere. They can make money in North Tulsa, in other words, just not as much as they would by building a new store in Bixby. The solution, as the authority recognizes, is to reduce non-market barriers by extending a requirement that the investor undertake further development in a very soft economic climate.
But lastly, and maybe most importantly, THERE ARE COMMUNITY GROUPS IN NORTH TULSA. Just for starters there’s a North Tulsa Community Coalition, the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative, and the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. The first of which does, in fact, “hold meetings to bring down crime.” I really had no idea that South Tulsa had organized themselves to host events, keep the peace, and develop their economy. I always assumed it was a function of cheap, available land, willing developers, residential segregation, and a virtuous cycle of high income residents creating profitable markets drawing still higher income residents.
But I guess what they really need to do in North Tulsa is try harder.