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Route 66 News

Hearing delayed to rezone Classen Circle in Oklahoma City

A controversial rezoning request that would have led to the demolition of historic Classen Circle and its businesses in Oklahoma City has been delayed at least a month.

The Braum’s restaurant chain, which requested the rezoning so it could put one of its stores there, agreed to move a planning commission hearing from Aug. 24 to Sept. 28, according to KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City.

Braum’s wants to host a community hearing before the rezoning request. No date for the meeting has been set.

News of the rezoning request last month was met by protests and resistance from Oklahoma City councilor Ed Shadid. A Change.org petition opposing the rezoning has been signed by more than 13,000 people.

According to a report in The Oklahoman newspaper:

Lynne Rostochil, who co-founded Okie Mod Squad, welcomed the delay. […]

“It makes me happy Braum’s is taking our concerns into consideration,” Rostochil said. “And maybe that will mean they will work with people who are trying to preserve the building and figure out a different plan.”

Braum’s has declined to comment about the matter.

Classen Circle is home to Classen Grill, the HiLo Club, the Drunken Fry, Charlie’s Records and apartments. Classen Circle, built in 1948, sat on a 1950s alignment of Route 66. Current-day Oklahoma Highway 66, which is overlaid onto Interstate 44, also sits nearby.

And the area also was one of the first LGBT-friendly places in the city, making it culturally significant as well.

(Image of Classen Circle in Oklahoma City via Change.org page)

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7 thoughts on “Hearing delayed to rezone Classen Circle in Oklahoma City

  1. Tonya Pike

    Ron. thank you for this news update on Classen Circle! While this is not a total reprieve, hopefully its a big step in that direction. And for anyone reading this comment who has not signed the petition on Change.org – Please go back to the story and click on the link and sign it. It doesn’t take 90 seconds to do so. And the number of signatures DOES matter!!! Even if you live outside the USA, please sign!

  2. Eric Hayman

    Sounds as if a chain business has set its sights on a somewhat old fashioned or unfashionable part of the city and thinks it can buy the whole area from the ground landlord or buy out the individual land owners at much more than they could reasonably expect to get, solely to set up a cheap and cheerful anonymous looking bog standard building in place of those currently there. Who authorises the rezoning? And why would the area be rezoned? And to whose benefit? What is wrong with the present classification?

  3. Brando V

    That’s good progress. Hopefully they will consider the communities concerns and set up somewhere else, like across the street. Not sure why you constantly have to turn everything into an SJW issue – was this building the site of the first “LGBT friendly” bar? Or even business? If not, how exactly is that relevant to this building being preserved? It’s so disappointing how you cannot escape interjecting your personal politics into Route 66 related news. One reason I’m such an enthusiast for 66 is that it’s an escape from all this modern day divisive nonsense. I guess nothing is immune, how sad…

    1. Ron Warnick Post author

      There’s a very good reason why the LGBT angle is important. When a property is considered for landmark or National Register status, one of the things considered is whether it had an impact on the local culture. That is one significant reason the Stonewall Inn in New York City attained National Monument status. You can bet that angle will be among the ones made for preserving Classen Circle, whether you agree with such issues or not.

  4. Eric Hayman

    And what if it was a strong heterosexual area? Would that be a reason NOT to put it on the landmark list or National Register? And to knock it down because the local culture was strongly heterosexual? The wrong sort of sexuality? Brando V is right – just think of the so-called “(LGBT) Pride” marches inflicted on towns and cities around the world. Once again, minorities taking precedence over majorities.

    1. Ron Warnick Post author

      The LGBT angle simply enhances its eligibility as a historically and culturally significant area, much like the Stonewall Inn in NYC. Minorities are seeing more of their historic places getting landmark status, simply because many are disappearing faster than regular places.

      It’s like the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. It already was a historic bridge. But the fact civil-rights marches and a key battle in that movement occurred on the bridge enhanced its eligibility significantly.

      This isn’t one taking precedence over another. This is one that’s potentially taking the spotlight when, not long ago, it was ignored or even denigrated.

      You may disagree on whether that should be done. But that’s the way the National Park Service looks at it.

  5. Eric Hayman

    As someone said – presuming a person had the money and right clothes – of the highly expensive Ritz Hotel in London, “It is open to all”. So was ” one of the first LGBT-friendly places in the city” – if one acted as one was expected to act. Just how today does a visitor distinguish such a bar, cafe, etc from another catering for everyone, regardless of their sexuality? If the Classen Circle is to have a chance of surviving, then it should appeal to, if not everyone then the vast majority of visitors to and citizens of Oklahoma City; that is basic business sense. Or will it become a curiosity solely because of its history? A place for gawkers and, as the word has it, “rubberneckers”? Only time will tell..

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