Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Where Heaven Meets Earth: Oklahoma City-Based Automobile Alley's Rooftop Gardens Combine Best of Both Worlds

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Where Heaven Meets Earth: Oklahoma City-Based Automobile Alley's Rooftop Gardens Combine Best of Both Worlds

Article excerpt

When a city adds to its skyline, oftentimes green spaces are removed as a building strives to reach higher into the heavens.

But some businesses that have moved into Automotive Alley along Broadway Avenue are bringing those green spaces back to the area that is decked out in cement and red brick.

Cardinal Engineering at 1015 N. Broadway Ave. has had a rooftop deck for about four years. The space has been the home to office functions, baby showers, and even lunch during days when the weather is nice.

"We developed it because a successful community has retail, housing, and green space," said Steve Mason, president of Cardinal Engineering. "What the neighborhood is trying to do is to create a successful community."

Blair Humphreys, executive director of the University of Oklahoma Institute for Quality Communities, said green spaces can help improve a growing community.

"Generally, spaces that are accessible and open and have a passive programming where many people can use them on different things will create a higher degree of social interaction," Humphreys said. "When there's a higher degree of social interaction, it typically leads to a higher community fabric, a cross-pollination of ideas and higher economic development."

Mason said the space is rented nearly every weekend during warmer weather. He said he hopes the visitors will return later to Automotive Alley.

"I like people to show up here and have a pleasant experience," he said.

Cardinal's space features tables and chairs with deck umbrellas, wood decks with additional seating, and a bar area for serving food or beverages.

Down the street, the Plenty Mercantile store is starting work on its rooftop garden, where it plans to offer gardening classes, outdoor yoga and other events.

Co-owner Traci Walton said a rooftop space has always been planned to further implement the theme of the store. …

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