Blog: Preservationists, chamber promote opposing views on old bus station

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One of Scott Schultz’s favorite Greyhound bus stops was Oklahoma City.

“The look of that station, it’s classic,” Schultz said.

As a comedian who regularly uses Greyhound to cross the country, Schultz, who lives in Los Angeles, has become a self-proclaimed expert on bus stations, which are the subject for many of his jokes and stories, including on his website Loooongride.com.

The bus station Schultz remembers is the former Greyhound terminal at Sheridan and Walker. The art deco sign for the Union Bus Station remains, along with its faded blue facade. It no longer serves as a function bus station, closing a few years ago after opening in 1941, and its days may be numbered as the 499 Sheridan Development, a city block sized mixed use development and high rise tower, hopes to demolish the historic station, along with eight other buildings that serve as some of the last relics to downtown’s past.

“I heard they were thinking about [demolishing] it,” Shultz said. “That’s too bad.”

David Pettyjohn, executive director with Preservation Oklahoma, Inc., agrees.

“This is about saving the Union Bus Station, but its also about an entire block that represents downtown’s retail history,” Pettyjohn said.

Preservation Oklahoma plans to make a presentation to the Downtown Design Review Committee Thursday in an appeal to save the block. The city’s Planning Committee has already recommended the site not be demolished.

“We have a little over 500 signatures from 32 states from three counties to present to the [Downtown Design REview Committee],” Pettyjohn said.

However, signatures in favor of saving the buildings won’t be the only ones presented to the committee. Some corporations in downtown have been circulating their own petitions in support for the new development, including the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, which asked hundreds of attendees to a monthly luncheon on Wednesday to sign petitions at each table.

“There are times that forward progress is essential to maintaining a healthy economy,” the flyer on each table stated.

Ben Felder

Ben is an urban affairs reporter covering local government and education in Oklahoma City. He lives in OKC with his wife, Lori, and son, Satchel. Ben holds a masters in new media journalism from Full Sail University and is an OKC transplant from Kansas City, Mo. Twitter: @benfelder_okg

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