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Fix Finally Underway on NE 2 Sidewalk Obstacle - The Rest of the Story

Over the past couple of years I must have written about a half dozen blog posts questioning, challenging and even mocking City Hall’s actions involving the sidewalk in front of the 2nd Street Lofts in Deep Deuce. I predicted early on, before the arrival of an Aloft Hotel, an Urban Johnnie’s, a Native Roots Market, or a flurry of other mixed uses now present along NE 2 that this terrible sidewalk design would prove to be a black eye on an otherwise great urban pedestrian friendly neighborhood.

Finally, last week, some sanity seemed to prevail with the removal of the fencing and the reconstruction of this water utility access. I was getting ready to sing City Hall’s praises when I discovered they were a bit bewildered to hear my inquiry for background information. Later today, after more questioning, I learned that the man with answers to my questions is none other than Richard McKown, who developed nearby Level and Mosaic apartments and is assembling the OK Sea shipping container development across the street from the 2nd Street Lofts.

City Hall, I learned, helped a little bit in that they did agree to allow the grate to be reinstalled at an angle with the sidewalk so as to avoid the steep step down caused by the previous requirement, which was what prompted the fencing (I won’t poke the bear on this further, though you know I want to). Beyond that, the solution was provided via a cooperative effort by McKown, the 2nd Street condo owners association, and key, I’ve learned, is Carl Hendricks, owner of H&H Plumbing.

"Carl has done all the sewer and water improvements in Maywood (the western half of Deep Deuce). He knows where everything is. When that originally got built, the rules required that it be set level. And then it had to have a fence set around it so you wouldn't have a tripping hazard. And that ruined the sidewalk," McKown explained.

"The city since changed their rule, and that allows a water meter vault to be at an angle with the sidewalk. So Carl was gracious enough to work this into his schedule, and he is very busy with the building boom underway. He got a crew back in as a favor. He does a lot of projects with us throughout the metro. This is really important. Second Street is now a street people walk on all the time. I'm incredibly grateful we're getting this turned into a proper sidewalk."

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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›