By: Lei Rumley | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2007
Janet Sherwood, director of Sapulpa Main Street
The Sapulpa Main Street program continually works to keep the heart of Sapulpa alive. The downtown commercial district features much of the original, distinctive architecture of the 1920’s. Storefronts are nearly filled to capacity with unique shops, restaurants and service businesses. Sapulpa Main Street will be hosting Upstairs Downtown to encourage the development of upper floor spaces into housing and offices.
Since its acceptance as a Main Street organization in 1990, Sapulpa Main Street has contributed over $26 million in public and private funds to revitalize downtown Sapulpa. Through design, economic restructuring, promotion and organization, Sapulpa Main Street advocates personal service, local ownership and a sense of community.
Continuing to encourage economic progress, Sapulpa Main Street is literally taking its focus to the next level. Specifically, the program is working on developing the spaces above Main Street’s unique shops, restaurants and businesses. The hidden spaces on the second floors and up have gone uninhabited for decades. Janet Sherwood, director of Sapulpa Main Street, says, “We’re ready to look up.”
At Upstairs Downtown, a special event hosted by Sapulpa Main Street, the community will have the opportunity to see the next level of possibility. Upstairs Downtown, scheduled for Friday, October 19, and Sunday, October 21, will have five renovated spaces open for tour. Guests can experience the upstairs space firsthand and listen to stories from several property owners who ventured into the renovation process.
Downtown Sapulpa’s upper floor spaces are being renovated for housing and offices.
Sapulpa Main Street’s goal in planning Upstairs Downtown is to educate the public about the spaces above current businesses and what can be done to develop them. Sherwood says, “This event will help people get an idea of what is involved with renovation.”
Ovations, a special event business, is a successful example of adaptive reuse of the space. The 8,000-square-foot area houses banquet and reception facilities, a dance and tumbling studio, as well as a residence.
A number of owners are enjoying the convenience of operating their businesses on the street level while setting up housekeeping on the lofty second floor. And not just shop owners are enjoying their second floor residences. The area is becoming desirable for people with downtown careers. “One building has upscale apartments that are available for lease,” Sherwood says.
However, there are thousands of unused square feet. By attending Upstairs Downtown, people can actually see that it is not out of the realm of possibility to work or live in these historic spaces. The Sapulpa Main Street program can connect potential upstairs investors with architects and other contactors to get their spaces exactly how they want.
Many incentives are available through the National Main Street and Oklahoma State Main Street organizations. Financial assistance, such as paint grants and façade grants for the removal of metal or contemporary frontages, can help owners restore their downtown property.
Upstairs Downtown will be held Friday, October 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 21, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the event is $5. For more information about Upstairs Downtown or the organization itself, contact Sapulpa Main Street at (918) 224-5709 or online at www.sapulpamainstreet.com.