Sep 142014
 

route-66-crusiers









Route 66 Cruisers Car Club is gearing up for its seventh annual car and motorcycle show Sept. 26-27 at Claremore Lake.

After starting in 2006, the club has grown to about 100 members and has gained national attention for its annual shows and charity events.
Ed Meacham established the club. As a car enthusiast, he joined the Tulsa Car Club, but after networking at several shows, he believed enough individuals in Claremore had a love for classic cars and would appreciate a local club. He was right.

The club began with only six founding members, but over the years has grown to a record of 160 members.
Meacham attributes the success to how active the club is in hosting swap meets, shows, cruises, and attending events.
“We get out and do a lot of stuff, and we really want to have money for charity,” said Meacham.
Shortly after starting the club, Meacham felt the club needed a driving purpose. Paul Kelsey, a local Shriner, expressed concern that their organization would fall short on providing toys to children for the upcoming Christmas. The need inspired Meacham to organize the club’s first toy run.
“If it can be done with motorcycles, it can be done with cars,” Meacham said, “We would line up for an all day cruise and start in one town and stop at businesses that collected toys for the Shriners.”
The toy run has been successful every year in helping the Shriners at Christmas, so much so that last year more toys were collected than the Shriners could give away. The additional toys were donated to the Good Samaritan Ministry.

Funds collected from the car shows and events are used to fund the Shriners’ effort to transport children to hospitals. The car club has also sent three veterans on an honor flight to Washington D.C. to visit the war memorials, and gave away a $500 scholarship to a Rogers State University student.
Along with its charitable efforts, the club is all about getting together with good friends and talking about a common love of classic cars, according to Meacham. Tall tales are common in the group, as well as practical jokes, and of course, a lot of laughter.
“Ted [the club president] always gets a trophy at every show — except at one,” said Meacham.
“Yeah, as judges passed my car, Ed yelled, ‘Hey guys, do not be fooling around with that car,’ so the judges moved on without judging it,” Ted Hancock said, laughing.

The group laughs, and Meacham holds strong to his story that he had no idea they were judges. The nature of the group is good fun, stories, and charity.
“We have a lot of fun; we go to fish frys and museums to show our cars. People contact us and ask for a display at a lot of different places,” said Meacham.
Leveraging technology has driven up membership over the years and has gained the club an international spotlight. The car club’s website has caught the attention of film crews from England working on a story about Route 66 and they plan to film the classic cars on a cruise. The website has had over 10 million views from people all over the world and maintains about 10,000 visitors every day.

The car show will include food and arts and crafts vendors, along with live entertainment, and of course, rows and rows of classic cars. There might even be a few “rat rods” competing, which are old cars from the 30s or 40s that have working engines but have been intentionally maintained as a junker.
Club membership is a $15 annual fee, but next year that price will increase to $20. Having a classic car is not a requirement to join the club, and there is plenty of room in other vehicles during cruises for those who lack a classic car. For more information about the Route 66 Cruisers Car Club or the upcoming show, visit www.Route66CruisersOK.org.

By Kristy Sturgill – The Daily Progress

Aug 042014
 

tulsa-route-66-experience








More than nine months after announcing it was seeking proposals to construct and operate a Route 66 interpretive center and commercial complex, the city is reviewing the one response it received.
“What we have, basically, is more questions,” said City Planning Director Dawn Warrick.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett in October announced that the city would begin seeking requests for proposals for the project, which is to be built on two acres of city land at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.
Warrick said it is not unusual for the city to take this long to review a Request for Proposal, or RFP — especially on a project as complicated as the Route 66 center.

It’s not like it’s sitting stagnant,” Warrick said of the RFP. “The scope of this project is very large and it involves a lot of moving parts.

“It’s a complicated project and it’s a complicated site.”
The interpretive center and commercial complex is to be built on city land across the street from the East Meets West bronze sculpture at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

City officials last year said they were looking for a private developer to come up with a plan that makes sense in terms of density, scale and height.

The development could have restaurants, retail space and even a hotel but must include space for a Route 66 interpretive center, officials said.

The city would retain ownership of the property and lease it to the developer.
The RFP was purposely broad to allow the private sector to help define amenities that would meet the city’s goals for the site.

The city plans to spend $6.5 million for the project, including $1.5 million in Vision 2025 funds and $5 million in third-penny sales tax revenue.
The city in May finalized its agreement with Tulsa County making the Vision 2025 funding available.

Businesswoman Sharon King Davis was one of a group of local business owners and professionals asked by the city to advise in putting the RFP together and reviewing responses.
The proposal the city received came from a consortium of local individuals — each of whom is outstanding, King Davis said. “If we can get this thing to fly it will be so fabulous for this city,” she said.
King Davis — who stressed that the decision now lies in the hands of the city — said the consortium has the capital to make the project happen.

“It is a tight project,” she said. “It is just a matter of checking and double checking and making sure on behalf of Tulsa that they can do it.”

City Councilor Blake Ewing has long advocated that the city do more to promotes its link to the Mother Road.
A Route 66 interpretive center — commonly referred to as the Route 66 experience — would benefit the city culturally and economically, he said.

“While many Tulsans may not believe it, Route 66 brings a substantial flow of international visitors through Tulsa,” Ewing said. “A sales tax revenue-funded city should always be thinking of ways to attract and capitalize on its visitors. Route 66 should be at the top of our list as an attractional community asset. The Route 66 Experience represents a tremendous step in the right direction.”

By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer

Nov 102012
 





I will have to make sure I check this out next time I am driving thru Tulsa OK…

TULSA – Hundreds of people gathered at the Route 66 Centennial Plaza to dedicate a massive sculpture to Cyrus Avery, the man commonly referred to as the “Father of Route 66.”

The sculpture depicts Avery, and his family, traveling in their 1926 Model-T Ford, as they came across a horse-drawn wagon.

The horses appear to be startled at the sight of the automobile.

The sculpture is 40-feet-long, 15-feet-wide, and 14-feet high.

It is made of bronze and weighs 20,000 pounds.

“I just wanted to show the rugged individualism,” said artist and designer Robert Summers.

Several of Avery’s descendants came to Tulsa from around the country for the dedication.

“It brings life to the plaza,” said grandson Cyrus Stevens Avery II. “It in fact is a very tangible representation of what went before.”

Route 66 stretches for 23 miles through Tulsa.

Avery is credited for convincing designers to draw the route through town.

The sculpture cost $1,177,841 and was paid for by money from Vision2025.

Scripps Media, Inc

Feb 182012
 



CATOOSA, Oklahoma — A popular Route 66 roadside attraction has been the target of vandalism.

Vandals wrote what is believed to be their names on the cultural icon, which was built in 1972, and Catoosa police are investigating. Police are not releasing photos of the graffiti because they feel it will hinder the investigation.

It is unknown when the act occurred, but a member of the Catoosa Arts and Tourism Society/Fins of the Blue Whale took to Twitter Saturday afternoon to address the situation.

“I’m kinda sad….some vandals have defaced my new paint job. I don’t know why people feel the need to do that, I’m just so disappointed.”

The group later released a statement to News On 6.

“Although the vandalism done to me was not with paint, vulgar or costly, the bigger issue is the act of vandalism, not the content or application. Mistreatment to any property other than your own is disrespectful. I’m simply disappointed that this type of behavior is measured. It is not levels on a scale of 1 to 10, it is all bad form. I forgive the vandals, I just wish there was nothing to forgive them for,” the statement said.

The organization also said the recent vandalism isn’t a new thing. After Christmas, it had to remove the donation box because of frequent break-ins and damage.

“People have always written inside my snot pocket …We never say anything about it,” a spokesperson for the arts and tourism society said. “This is overt.”

The attraction was repainted just months ago

In September 2011, the whale received facelift due to a donation of time, money and man-power, courtesy of The Bill Haynes Company of Tulsa.

-Brandi Ball, NewsOn6.com

Jan 082012
 



Tulsa has never realized the full economic development and tourism potential from its 24 miles of historic Route 66.

So Councilor Blake Ewing is creating a task force to help the city embrace the opportunities that come from its place along the Mother Road.

“There’s Route 66 travel maps that bypass Tulsa,” he said with frustration. “Motorists hop on Interstate 44 at Catoosa to cut through the city and then reconnect with Route 66 from there.”

Many leaders have championed Arkansas River development in recent years, with Route 66 (tracking along on 11th Street) falling by the wayside, Ewing said.

“I’m not trying to usurp river momentum,” he said. “I’m excited about that, too. But to me, this is lower-hanging fruit. It’s here and it’s underutilized. We don’t have to put water in it to be successful.”

Creating a scene: The idea behind the task force, which would include Route 66 stakeholders, such as University of Tulsa, Hillcrest Medical Center, Bama Pie officials and neighborhood leaders, as well as city officials, is to look for ways to reinvigorate the pathway.

Some ideas include creating tax increment financing districts along Route 66 to help spur development, with the taxes generated being invested in improvements, and looking for federal Brownfield grants to clean up some of the vacant, dilapidated structures, Ewing said.

The councilor also envisions a fund being established for the city or the Tulsa Development Authority to purchase neglected properties and turn them into meeting locations for car clubs until they can be resold for commercial purposes.

Ewing said he also would like to encourage businesses along Route 66 to upgrade their signs to sleek neon versions to create a vibe.

This could be done by possibly creating a grant program to help business owners pay for the difference between a regular backlit sign and a neon version. Sign ordinance changes likely would be needed.

“Businesses will respond to these kinds of gestures,” he said. “When you add it all together, you create a scene that people want to be a part of.”

Vision 2025 investment: Route 66 hasn’t been completely ignored. In Tulsa County’s 2003 Vision 2025 package, $15 million was set aside for various improvements tied to a Route 66 master plan.

Completed so far are renovations to the Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge – the former 11th Street Bridge – and the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza and skywalk, at the east end of the bridge.

Avery was the former Tulsa County commissioner who is known as the father of the Mother Road because he lobbied Congress in 1926 to make it a 2,450-mile national highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Some streetscaping projects along the route also have been finished.

Still to come is the Route 66 Interpretive Center at the plaza by Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

The museum has $2 million from Vision 2025 and $5 million from the 2006 third-penny sales tax package tied to it but is expected to need more in private funding. A feasibility study is under way, city planner Dennis Whitaker said.

A streetscaping project on 11th Street between 89th East Avenue to Garnett Road will soon begin.

It will include a kiosk at the intersection of 11th Street and Mingo Road that will tell the story of motor courts and how they evolved, along with other facets of Route 66 history, and wayfinding signs directing traffic.

Also this year, two Route 66 gateways will be built – one on the east side and one on the west side of Tulsa’s stretch – and a larger-than-life bronze sculpture will be installed at the plaza.

The sculpture, titled “East Meets West,” will depict the Avery family riding in a Model-T as they encounter a horse-drawn carriage on its way from the west Tulsa oil fields.

Whitaker, who will be part of the new task force, said that having public and private partners at the table will help take the master plan to the next level.

For all of Tulsa: The revitalization of Route 66 would not only benefit the five council districts it passes through, Ewing said, but also it would benefit the entire city by being an economic development and tourism engine.

Ewing owns numerous businesses in downtown’s Blue Dome District, including Joe Momma’s Pizza, Back Alley Blues & BBQ, Boomtown Tees and The Max Retropub.

His closest endeavor to Route 66 is The Phoenix Cafe, a coffee shop and used bookstore that will open at Sixth Street and Peoria Avenue soon.

Ewing said he would be considering his own Route 66 business investment if not for his role as a councilor in the task force.

“I don’t want my pursuing a personal development to compromise what I see as a much bigger thing for Tulsa,” he said. “But I see the potential, and I know other developers will, too.”

Author and historian Michael Wallis took Tulsa to task in his 1990 book “Route 66: The Mother Road” for not capitalizing on its Route 66 heritage.

“Tulsa gets much higher marks now,” he said. “There have been little victories here and there.”

But Ewing’s task force is exactly what’s needed to see the effort through.

“I’m usually dubious about politicians, but he’s standing behind his words and I’m excited,” Wallis said.

The lure of traveling Route 66 by car is powerful to domestic and foreign tourists and continues to grow, he said.

“A lot of people falsely think it’s about pure nostalgia,” he said.

But it’s much more than poodle skirts, cheeseburgers, James Dean and ’57 Chevys. Those are just a small slice of the pie.

“This is the classic American road trip, from the land of Lincoln to Hollywood. They get all the variance of terrain, culture, cuisine and music. Tulsa needs to stake its claim as part of that.”

By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer

Feb 012011
 

Route 66 is an iconic highway and a nostalgic part of America’s car obsessed past, but after Interstate 40 took over, many of the towns dotting the roadway died. In recent years, an interest in all things vintage is helping buildings and businesses along the original route come back to life.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma for example, the architecture firm ElevenTH bought up an old PEMCO gas station and converted it into their new offices. Retaining the original edifice, adding a green lawn and vintage and recycled decor is helping to reinvigorate the streetscape and placing the firm right in the middle of the action.

ElevenTH knew they didn’t want to be holed up in some stale office on the 13th floor of a high rise in downtown. They wanted to be in the midst of the city, “the homeless, the prostitutes, the reality of society, all things this building was witness to,” as Shane Hood, principal at ElevenTH told us.

They searched for a place they could make their own and jumped on the chance to repuporse a 1950′s PEMCO gas station on route 66 into their new offices. The former gas station had fallen into quite a state of disrepair – boarded up, leaking and “had been on the unfortunate end of many unwise and insensitive remodels”.

Click HERE fo more pictures.

Jan 202011
 

TulsaNow, a grass roots citizen-based group working to make Tulsa a better place to live, invites Tulsa citizens to attend the upcoming Battle of the Plans, a citizen planning forum scheduled for 6:45 pm, Monday, October 28, in the Great Hall, Allen Chapman Activity Center, University of Tulsa, 5th and Gary. Admission is free and no reservations are needed.

Participants will have the opportunity to hear from citizen planners about their Vision for Tulsa. Plans being presented include.

- A 20/20 Vision of Tulsa – by local lawyer C. Rabon Martin

- Arkansas River Development – by engineer and former Mayoral candidate Ray McCollum

- Blue Dome District – by Michael Sager and Kathleen Page

- Creative Use of the Arts – by Ken Busby of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa

- Enrichment Plan for Tulsa: Oil Capitol of the World – by Michael Steed

- Mohawk Park – by Mary Collins, Tulsa Zoo Friends Executive Director

- Plan for Route 66 – by the Route 66 Business League of Tulsa

- Rooftops – by Rachel Zebrowski of Zebrowski Architecture & Planning

- StreetLife – by Jamie Jamison, developer of the Village at Central Park

- The Tulsa Connection – by the Dr. Thomas Costner Family including 13 year old Kayla and 10 year old Chase

Mayor Bill LaFortune is scheduled to give a ‘call to action’ and to welcome presenters. Moderator is Glenda Silvey, news anchor for KOTV Channel 6. Audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to the citizen planners. An informal reception and discussion with presenters follows the program.

TulsaNow hopes to influence the public process by making great ideas public and offering a forum for grand plans that otherwise would go unnoticed. For more information go to the TulsaNow website at www.tulsanow.org.