starring Alastair Sim and various Oklahoma City buildings. The original version
opened at the Centre Theater on December 17, 1951.
answer me one question ...
Are these the shadows of things that must be,
or are they only shadows of things that might be?
Actually, Ebenezer Scrooge asked two questions to the spirit and both were relevant to Charles Dickens' 1843 classic tale of redemption and restoration, A Christmas Carol. They are equally relevant today when considering the SandRidge Commons proposal for its downtown campus. The next, and presumably the last, hearing before the Board of Adjustment is scheduled to occur at a special meeting of that board on Monday, July 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm in the Oklahoma City Council Chambers.
Although SandRidge Energy lacks the ignoble characteristics of Ebenezer Scrooge ... as a corporation it gives no appearance of being greedy and it has certainly contributed to Oklahoma City since during its relatively brief existence here in many ways ... it likewise gives all appearances of having a quality that Ebenezer lacked ... vanity. As was said by the character portrayed as the Devil, John Milton (Al Pacino), in the 1997 movie The Devil's Advocate, "Vanity is my favorite sin."
Not at all is SandRidge either Ebenezer Scrooge or the Devil ... it is a good corporate citizen of Oklahoma City. But, by attempting to force upon the city a gift that would reduce still further its remaining historic legacy and reduce urban density by creating a fine plaza which serves no purpose other than to showcase its own tower ... none of which would add any dollars to its shareholders' pockets ... it is not an unreasonable thing, I think, to see SandRidge's thus far intransigence to compromise as being based upon anything other than vanity.
It doesn't have to be that way. Nothing stands in the way of SandRidge beautifying its campus, adding the one new structure it proposes to take the place of those it would destroy, AND serve the city by not only keeping, but also restoring, two of the treasures which remain in its hands, the India Temple and the Oklahoma City Savings & Loan Building.
SandRidge has in its hands the present capability of embodying what Dickens said about Ebenezer Scrooge by the end of the tale's telling ...
Scrooge was better than his word. He became a good friend, as good a master and as good a man the old city ever knew, or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world.A Christmas Carol is not only a tale about redemption, it is a story of restoration. In the tale, it was restoration of personal character and relationships, but in this city, it just might be about willingness to save and restore a pair of venerable old buildings so that ...
Restoration Of Downtrodden Buildings Is Possible. I'll begin this section by mentioning an opportunity not taken but which could have been. Following the Murrah bombing, the 1952 YMCA while damaged was not structurally harmed. Preservationists attempted to save the building from being torn down by its then owner and turned into a street level parking lot. But, at that time, the City did not have ordinances like those in place today which govern the demolition of properties having historic value. The magnificent building was not destroyed by the Murrah bombing, it was destroyed by a property owner who wanted a parking lot.
|The 1952 YMCA||Today's aerial view|
Can restoration of dilapidated buildings occur? Just look around the town. The most obvious example is what is now the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. Ironically, the hotel manager who benefited from the city's efforts to restore this building now favors the SandRidge Commons proposal, not restoration. Go figure.
The question is not whether the buildings can be restored. The question is why they aren't proposed to be. It is a matter of will, pure and simple. This post hopes that SandRidge will see its way clear to actually being the good downtown citizen that it wants to be and has the capacity to become.
But, for that to occur, it will need to have a long internal look at its own motivation for insisting upon demolition ... perhaps, by analogy, it may come to have A Christmas Carol experience. Here's hoping that it will become possible to say of SandRidge that which was said about Ebenezer after his Christmas Eve experience ...
Scrooge was better than his word. He became a good friend, as good a master and as good a man the old city ever knew, or any other good old city, town or borough in the good old world.
- Appeal by Preservation Oklahoma
- SandRidge Proposal -- What Have We Got To Lose?
- Hugging Our SandRidge Buildings
- SandRidge Commons - What About Door #3?
- National Trust For Historic Preservation Weighs In
- SandRidge - Holder of a Legacy
- Bye Bye Miss American Pie