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    Default Group aims to reinvigorate Capitol Hill

    Group aims to reinvigorate Capitol Hill business

    September 25, 2007

    OKLAHOMA CITY – When Jeri Montgomery was growing up in south Oklahoma City her mother would take her to Capitol Hill to shop for clothes.“Capitol Hill was a big-time commercial area,” she said. Stores included John A. Brown Co. and J.C. Penney. Over the years, the area declined and many retail stores, including John A. Brown and J.C. Penney, closed or moved.

    Last week Montgomery returned to the area once known as “A City within a City” and will be working on redevelopment in the district as executive director of Capitol Hill Main Street.Capitol Hill Main Street was formed in 1997 to reverse the decline of the area on SW 24th, 25th and 26th streets between S. Walker Avenue and S. Shields Boulevard. Since then more than $10 million has been reinvested in the area, Montgomery said.

    Projects included renovation of both the former John A. Brown and J.C. Penney buildings. John A. Brown closed the retail portion of its building in 1974 and used part of the building as offices until 1985. The building was donated to Oklahoma City in 1986 and was used for storage of surplus equipment. The building was renovated in 2003 and became the headquarters of the Community Action Agency.

    As the new Capitol Hill Main Street executive director, Montgomery inherits an ongoing movement to have the Main Street program’s area declared a business improvement district.“We plan to submit our business improvement district proposal to the city before the end of the year,” she said.Enough property owners in the district have already agreed to participate in the business improvement district to meet requirements. Businesses in the area will be assessed an additional fee by the city to pay for improvements.“Hopefully we will be able to implement our business improvement district in early 2008,” Montgomery said.Oklahoma City has four business improvement districts.

    In June, the City Council approved a district for the area along N. Western Avenue from NW 36th Street on the south to Interstate 44 on the north.Montgomery is not a newcomer to the Main Street program.She was with Stockyard City Main Street for nine years, including five years as executive director.Capitol Hill is one of 42 communities across the state participating in the Oklahoma Main Street program, operated through the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for commercial district revitalization. The state Main Street Program started in 1985 and initially worked mainly with small towns.“The Main Street Program brought life back into a lot of small towns,” Montgomery said. “The urban areas saw what was being accomplished in the small towns and followed that lead.”

  2. #2

    Default Re: Group aims to reinvigorate Capitol Hill

    That area is a neat little neighborhood.

    It's already doing better and I look forward to it's continued comeback.

  3. Default Re: Group aims to reinvigorate Capitol Hill

    My mother and grandmother grew up in Capitol Hill. From their description, it seemed like quite the place to do business in OKC.

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