Community Focus: Historic preservation as a way forward

A local non-profit promotes historic preservation statewide. (Preservation Oklahoma)

A local non-profit works to keep Oklahoma’s historic integrity alive, and pushes to remind people that “old places” matter. Preservation Oklahoma is now getting help spreading its message of historic preservation across the state. Advertising professionals with AD 2 OKC selected Preservation Oklahoma for help with a free campaign.

Preservation Oklahoma works with communities across the state. It is focusing right now on places undergoing a lot of renovation and growth, like Oklahoma City and Tulsa. One of its major success stories is the Page Woodson - Douglass high school redevelopment.

“When we see one thing happen in a community, there does tend to be a domino effect and that is what we hope for, that you know with Page Woodson we will see other growth in the Oklahoma city area. It is all about community development, economic development-- building upon the resources that are already there,” says Cayla Lewis, executive director of Preservation Oklahoma.

Now the original building houses apartments with some 60 units set at affordable prices with income limits. Douglass High school was once a predominantly African-American school and was the setting for much of the Oklahoma Civil Rights movement. When it went into disrepair, it was in danger of being lost.

Many of the properties on Preservation Oklahoma’s Most Endangered Places list have similar historical value to the communities they are in, but are also in danger of being lost. The hope is to show people the areas in need, and possibly encourage developers to save the areas.

AD 2 OKC selected Preservation Oklahoma out of 22 applicants, to help with a campaign to spread their message.

“Coming together and volunteering our time so that we can give back to a nonprofit that maybe can't afford us as an agency or as a freelancer and using our skills to give back that way,” says Ashley Ross, AD 2 OKC public service chair, of the organization’s goal.

The endangered places are nominated by the community every year. Preservation Oklahoma will be announcing its newest list early in 2019. Nominations can be made on their website here.

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