By MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer | Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 12:00 am
Driving a two-lane stretch of old Route 66 west of Tulsa, Russ Roach recently came across 23 tourists from Switzerland on rented Harley Davidsons.
They were on their way from Chicago to Los Angeles with the goal of never touching an interstate, coming through Tulsa on historic 11th Street.
“Most Tulsans might think of 11th Street solely as an area that needs some reinvestment or upgrade,” said Roach, a former state legislator who is now president of the nonprofit Route 66 Development Group.
“However, Route 66 is also a powerful historical and cultural symbol for people all over this country and many far beyond our borders.”
The Urban Design Studio at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa recently named a “community advisory studio” to help with a student-directed study of Route 66.
And Roach will serve as the group’s chairman.
Students at the Tulsa and Norman campuses will participate in a design competition to develop ideas for redevelopment along the historic highway’s path through Tulsa, officials said.
“The intent is to provide examples and inspiration,” said Urban Design Studio Director Shawn Schaefer, “that will spur private investments along the street.”
Other members of the community advisory group will include Sheila Curley, a principal in Six-PR; Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing; Devon Hyde, chief operating officer of Hillcrest Medical Center; Susan Neal, former Tulsa city councilor and current vice president for public affairs at the University of Tulsa; Rodger Randle, former Tulsa mayor and OU-Tulsa professor; Isaac Rocha, chairman of Tulsa’s Young Professionals; John Tally, owner of Tally’s Café at 11th Street and Yale Avenue; Route 66 historian Michael Wallis; and Tulsa Planning Director Dawn Warrick.