Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Positively Paseo is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit community housing development organization, or CHDO, working to revitalize the Paseo Historic District and Classen Ten Penn neighborhoods in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Our mission is to increase homeownership by providing families and individuals with low-to-moderate income levels the opportunity to purchase a rehabilitated, restored, or newly constructed home that is affordable and of good quality.
Like other inner-city Oklahoma City neighborhoods, Paseo and Classen Ten Penn suffered in the 1970′s and 80′s when development began in the suburbs and drew families away from the center of the city.
This suburban flight led to urban blight – leaving behind large swaths of vacant, boarded up blocks. Homes deteriorated and crime moved in. The economic recession of the 1980′s led to further deterioration with the end result being a nearly abandoned inner city.
With some of the homes dating back to the Land Run of 1889 and neighborhoods designed by G.A. Nichols in the early 1900′s, it is important to save these historic buildings and make these neighborhoods safe again for families.
So began the work of Positively Paseo…
In the mid 1980′s residents of Paseo and surrounding historic neighborhoods joined forces with area church officials, non-profit community associations, local bankers, and commercial property owners to set in place a plan to revitalize the Paseo neighborhood.
Backed by an endorsement from a study by the Urban Land Institute in Washington D.C., Positively Paseo was formed to lead the way in housing rehabilitation. With a focus on owner-occupancy, staff and volunteers began to renovate deteriorated single-family homes and build new homes on long vacant lots. Initial funding sources included bank loans and federal grants administered by the City of Oklahoma City.
This work began more than 20 years ago and because of patience and perseverance, the Paseo Historic District (as it is now known) has undergone a renaissance. Property values have stabilized, criminal activity has all but vanished, and a strong neighborhood association continues to unite neighbors.
It is because of this success that Positively Paseo has joined forces with Classen Ten Penn residents in order to model the work that has been done in Paseo in another deteriorated inner-city Oklahoma City neighborhood.
The Classen Ten Penn neighborhood has a long history and, by some accounts, served as a home for at least one famous writer – Ralph Ellison. Today, the neighborhood boasts another famous resident, Wayne Coyne, of the band The Flaming Lips, and his wife and photographer, Michelle Martin-Coyne. A thriving commercial and arts district – The Plaza District – serves as the heart of the neighborhood.
All locally-owned, the district is home to four restaurants, a winery, a beauty salon, art galleries, a dance studio, an interior design studio, a floral designer, a tattoo parlor, retro and vintage shops, and The Lyric Theatre, Oklahoma’s only professional year-round musical theatre company. On the second Friday of each month, LIVE on the Plaza hosts a family-friendly event.
Classen Ten Penn is undoubtedly an ethnically and economically diverse hub of Oklahoma City and certainly a neighborhood to watch – maybe even a place to call your next home…
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"
Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)
"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"
Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster
Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.
I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.