Oil City officials, expressing worries about the future of the community's worn and tattered North Side business district, agreed in August 1960 to begin a major urban renewal effort known as the Railroad Plaza Project, later simplified as the Plaza Project.

In the planning stages for nearly 10 years, the Plaza Project was considered an integral part of a city-wide initiative aimed at freeing up commercial land, capitalizing on waterfronts, demolishing blight and generally rekindling the city's economic fortunes.

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