Hispanic population revitalizing Capitol Hill area

Twenty years ago, Capitol Hill appeared to be in the final stage of urban decay, suffering a series of setbacks brought on by:
" city planning,
" business relocations,
" unemployment and
" low property values.

But from 1997 to 2006, public and private investments totaling more than $12 million " combined with a growing Hispanic population, new businesses and community projects " revitalized the historic area and made it, in the words of several residents, the "epicenter of Hispanic culture in Oklahoma City."

Since 1997, Oklahoma Main Street Center, the Greater Oklahoma City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and private citizens have overseen 155 building rehabilitations or refurbishments, including a net gain of 65 new businesses or expansions, creating hundreds of new jobs.

David Castillo, executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the area is starting to attract national businesses. He noted a informal Hispanic Chamber survey found 270 Hispanic-owned businesses in a five-mile radius.

"The growth rate for new business in our area is about 5 percent per year," Castillo said. "This growth in Hispanic-owned businesses is a trend across the country. Hispanics now have $780 billion in buying power in the United States. That number will increase to $1 trillion by 2010." "Greg Horton

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