Beautification efforts continue along Capitol gateway

At a height of 10 feet, 7 inches, the column on the southwest corner of N.E. 23rd Street and N. Santa Fe Avenue acts as a marker for the Clara Luper Corridor.

The monument is part of the N.E. 23rd Street Enhancement Project, under the Oklahoma Transportation Enhancement Program, according to Richard Andrews, assistant division manager for the Project Management Division of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

The enhancement program utilizes federal highway funds in constructing a variety of projects, including sidewalks and landscaping.

"It's important to note these funds, by federal law, can only be used for these type projects," Andrews said. "They can't be used for roads and bridges."

Along with this money, city bond funds from Oklahoma City have been used by the project to do some paving and waterline work, as well.

"It's kind of a collaborative effort between us and the city of Oklahoma City," Andrews said.

The stretch of road was designated Clara Luper Corridor in 2000, in honor of the educator and civil rights leader who initiated a sit-in at Oklahoma City's Katz Drugstore in 1958, sparking sit-ins around the country.

Andrews sees N.W. 23rd Street as the gate and entrance to the Capitol. He said the emphasis on beautifying the Capitol complex began with former Gov. Frank Keating and has continued with Gov. Brad Henry.

"This is just a natural continuation of that emphasis on beautifying the Capitol and the Capitol gateways," he said.

The N.E. 23rd Street streetscape project's total cost is $4,033,307.80, according to the city. "CJ Macklin