• Kenton Tsoodle

PlaceKeepers building success in northeast OKC

Sometimes, timing is everything. In early 2021, a new program launched in Oklahoma City to help those who are interested in development in northeast Oklahoma City. PlaceKeepers has been helping aspiring developers and business owners looking to gain training and mentorship to launch real estate projects and businesses in northeast Oklahoma City. The program, now on its third cohort, is open to northeast OKC and Black residents, business owners and stakeholders.

The program couldn’t have launched at a more critical time with the increasing pace of new development projects in northeast Oklahoma City. Participants gain knowledge, business resources and mentorships to help with their development ideas for housing and commercial development. The expected result is more private investments and jobs in northeast Oklahoma City, by people who live in our community.

At last Saturday’s PlaceKeepers meeting, our own Olen Cook and Cassi Poor presented to participants about development opportunities available through the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority. OCURA currently has requests for proposals to find development partners for vacant residential parcels in northeast Oklahoma City. They shared how the OCURA redevelopment process works and tips for submitting an attractive proposal.

These training sessions, coaching, resources and connections are critical to supporting development and redevelopment by people who live in and have roots in northeast Oklahoma City. PlaceKeepers is coordinated by Northeast Oklahoma City Renaissance Inc. with support from the Black Justice Fund to overcome generations of intentional suppression by engaging residents as real-estate developers, business owners and job creators.

NEOKCR also facilitates mentor pairings by connecting the PlaceKeeper participants with experienced developers, successful business owners, lenders and investors who are interested in accelerating professional growth and economic opportunities in northeast Oklahoma City. PlaceKeepers will be hosting its second annual Developers Conference on Saturday, July 30. Registration for the conference can be found at www.neokcr.org/pkc.

In 2014, the Alliance established the Northeast Renaissance Steering Committee to advocate for ethical redevelopment, housing, education, safety, wellness, economic development, and preservation of African American arts and culture. Just two years later, that steering committee established NEOKCR to become a catalyst for place-based, ethical community development.

We applaud their results and impact on Oklahoma City and encourage you to learn more about the PlaceKeepers program at www.neokcr.org/placekeepers.

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