POSTED ON DECEMBER 7, 2011:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Standing In the Gap
I don't normally send in comments but I just wanted to send you all a quick note to say thanks for focusing on adoption. I have enjoyed reading the articles concerning different aspects of adoption over the last couple of weeks. My wife and I have adopted two children through DHS.
Family fuses and Sparks fly for adoption.
Our decision to adopt has its roots in our faith and our desire to be truly pro-life. As teenagers in our church youth groups we were schooled on the importance of defending the pro-life position and we were even involved in anti-abortion protests but as we got older we began thinking about what it means to truly be pro-life. For us, it was not just being concerned about babies in the womb (which we are) but also being willing to come alongside those babies/children once they are born. That led us to eventually adopt two beautiful kids (Benjamin, 6 and Tabitha, 7) through DHS in 2010.
Having said all that, even with a sense of calling it has not been easy. There have been many tears that have been shed and many questions that we have asked God that have yet to be answered. But at the end of the day we know that providing two children a home and a forever family is a privilege and a blessing.
Thanks for drawing people's attention to this issue and keep it up!
In regard to your recent "Is Tulsa Destined to be the Next Indianapolis?" (Nov. 24-30 issue) City column, I have a question: Have you ever been to Indianapolis? If so, when was the last time you were there? Based on your use of the terms "obscure" and "unmemorable", I question your knowledge and understanding of Indianapolis. From 1999-2002, I lived and worked in downtown Indianapolis and found it to be a very vibrant, memorable and unobscure city. I have returned to visit friends on a nearly annual basis and my opinion of the city hasn't changed.
The downtown is easily the most vibrant of any midwestern city except the much larger Chicago. There are lots of retail shops, restaurants, things to do and it is all easily walkable. When I look at Indianapolis' downtown and Tulsa's downtown, I see much that is similar. The scale of the buildings is similar, the blocks nearly the same size and like Tulsa, Indianapolis tore down much historic architecture for parking lots. However, unlike downtown Tulsa's slow pace of recent growth and development, Indianapolis' downtown has grown exponentially over the last 40 years.
Downtown Indianapolis has attracted thousands of residential units; new restaurants, shops and office developments; and a massive Indiana Convention Center and Lucas Oil Stadium complex over the last 30 years. It is one of the few medium size cities to have a successful downtown shopping mall. Circle Center is nicely integrated with the downtown landscape and streetscape through incorporating older building facades into the structure.
The city has a Central Canal downtown that was reclaimed from being a dump to an enjoyable walk with hundreds of desirable apartments and condos along it. Sustainability anyone? Indy is unique because the literal center of the city is Monument Circle, with a massive Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the middle. The Circle, as the locals like to call it, is one of the finest urban public spaces in the U.S. Neighborhoods surrounding downtown Indianapolis have been renewed and are increasingly viewed as some of the best places to live in the City. It may be true that Indianapolis outside of the urban core is a low density auto-oriented city. But, so is Tulsa so that makes it an interesting model comparison. I think both cities are wanting to create more mixed-use walkable neighborhoods throughout the city.
And when it comes to urban farming, I think Indianapolis has Tulsa beat. The City has one of the oldest enclosed year around public markets in the nation that has seen growth in stands selling organic, homegrown fruits and vegetables in recent years. While Tulsa has numerous farmers markets, they are temporary and definitely not year around. Indiana is known as a farming state in the heart of the Corn Belt while northeast Oklahoma is hardly in the same category.
There are things that Tulsa has which Indianapolis will never offer. Comparatively, Tulsa is a very hilly city with much more interesting topography. Indianapolis is as flat as a pancake on the Indiana prairie (which incidently makes walking and bicycling easy). Tulsa has a much wider and more prominent river than Indianapolis. The White River, while appearing to have more water in it than the Arkansas, is much narrower and still not navigable. And, Tulsa has a major inland port that doesn't exist in the Indianapolis region.
Conversely, there are things that Indianapolis has which won't exist in Tulsa. The first is that the city is much more balanced in its growth patterns due to the I-465 loop around the city. While most growth is north, growth is occurring in all directions. In Tulsa, nearly all of the growth has been south and east for over 50 years and there is still no loop on the northwest side with the Gilcrease Expressway remaining incomplete. Second, Indianapolis is the heart of the state due to being the state capital. Oklahoma City has that role locked up in the Sooner state. Third, Indianapolis has been building a major urban university for decades. IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis) is what the old UCAT (University Center at Tulsa) could have become if OU, OSU, NSU and Langston had been able to get along.
Indianapolis is a fine model for Tulsa to use as long as it remembers that it cannot and should not try to be another "Circle City". Whatever you may call Indianapolis, it is not obscure, unmemorable, unsustainable or forgettable. And I hope you will visit it soon.
--Brent C. Isaacs
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