MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Fort Gibson

July 2, 2013

Officials hope to promote town’s potential

— Debby Daniels took a break from keeping minutes at the Historic Preservation and Landmark Commission meeting to issue a call to action.

“You’ve read all of the regulations and what you can do,” Daniels said. “Now what are you going to do? We are sitting on the history of Fort Gibson and Oklahoma. This town needs to get in line with the Fort and with the state and get some things done.”

Daniels, who is the town clerk, as well as members of the audience and board, all agreed that the alignment of Fort Gibson’s governing bodies was crucial to the commission and the future of the town.

Corey Twilley, who attended the meeting, said he thought the town was getting closer to that goal.

“We need to be on the same page,” he said. “And I think we’re getting there. This is where we change our paths and do something for the future.”

The board met Thursday for discussion regarding Historic Preservation and Landmark Regulations pursuant to the Fort Gibson Code of Ordinances. Since the last meeting in April, the board has appointed two new members, Effie Foster and Robert Hendrex, both of Fort Gibson.

Foster said her goals for the town were simple.

“We have a lot of old historic houses in Fort Gibson,” Foster said. “My goals are to increase the knowledge of the people of the history of our town and encourage them to come see what we have to offer. I also want to make sure the historic houses we have are renovated correctly.”

Foster, who was born and raised in Fort Gibson, moved back in 2007. She said her interest in the Historic Preservation and Landmark Commission was piqued when she had to go through them to renovate her home.

“Fort Gibson is an unsung tourism hotspot,” she said. “It’d be wonderful if we could get more people here to see what we have. The town is growing, and I’m interested in getting more things for Fort Gibson, instead of us being just a bedroom community to Muskogee.”

Suggestions were given to the board to do more reaching out to the community about meetings and regulations. One of the attendees pointed out she had heard about the meeting through a friend on Facebook on Thursday afternoon.

Katie May, commission chairwoman, addressed the board and attendees about a lack of markers in Fort Gibson.

“I’ve been stopped here in town and asked where something is,” she said. “There aren’t enough markers here, or if they are there, they’re disintegrated. That’s something we can do. It might cost some money, but not much.”

Daniels wrapped up her time of discussion by imploring the board to join forces with the city council.

“I’ve lived here a long time, Daniels said. “We have original buildings and structures here. We can do something with those. This board needs to start making recommendations to the town.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or tsloat@muskogee phoenix.com.

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