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There's a new project to draw people to Tulsa

Route 66 project to draw people to Tulsa (KTUL)

With the Gathering Place open, what's the next big thing for Tulsa?

Members of the Route-66 Alliance have predicted it will be the Route-66 Experience, which is planned for the northeast corner of Route 66 and Riverside Drive.

It will be an interpretive center, not a museum and will offer virtual-reality exhibits, classic cars, a drive-in movie and a bar.

Michael Wallis of the Alliance said it will show us what life was like during an earlier time in this country.

Wallis said, "Not just actually the road itself, but the road as a metaphor for America before we became generic."

Wallis added that they will also have food from the '40s and '50s, plus a piece of Tulsa history.

"I've tucked away Steve's Sundries soda fountain and that will be operating a again." Wallis said.

"You can actually take your grandchild, or child, or sweetheart and sit on a stool there and have an egg salad on white and a cherry coke."

They think the plaza area will become an international attraction that could have even more appeal than the Gathering Place.

They say Tulsa is the Capital of Route 66 and the project will be the Capitol building.

County Commissioner Karen Keith said it will tie together Tulsa's revival, from the highway, to the park and downtown.

Keith said, "It is absolutely critical. It's the single most exciting thing that could happen to route 66 for Tulsa. It also means that people will get off the expressway and come through Tulsa."

People who do business on the highway say it will also keep Route 66 pilgrims here, for longer than a lunch.

Mary Beth Babcock, of Buck Atoms Cosmic Curios, said, "A lot of people don't realize how many people are daily traveling route 66. Coming right through Tulsa Oklahoma. So to have that experience center would be incredible for Tulsa."

The price tag on the project is $23 million with about $5 million coming from some of the last of the Vision 2025 money.

Executive Director Ken Busby said they have about 60% of what's needed and they expect to break ground in 2019.

If you’d like to donate you can go to the Route-66 Experience website.

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