, Muskogee, OK

December 31, 2012

County declares US 69 tract unneeded

Action removes obstacle to site’s possible sale

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Muskogee County commissioners moved the ball closer toward the possible sale of county-owned property eyed by commercial developers.

The nearly six-acre tract is at the southwest corner of U.S. 69 and West Shawnee Bypass. A Tulsa real estate brokerage and development group inquired in August about buying the land.

 Perry R. Dunham, who represents the interested prospective buyers, has said that he was “not at liberty to discuss” any development plans. But his inquiry, made in August, did express an interest in buying the land.

County officials have been working since to identify the legal description of the land. District 1 Commissioner Gene Wallace believes the tracts were acquired in 1955 through the county’s power of eminent domain as part of a state transportation project.

With that task completed, commissioners unanimously approved on Monday a resolution declaring the “property is not needed for the taken purpose by the county.” Wallace said the next step will be to have the property appraised.

“We had a list of six appraisers sent to the judge, who will select three, and we anticipate they will get that done post haste,” he said. “The people who have expressed an interest in that property will decide then if they want to do anything with it.”

Wallace said the county also owns other property at the intersection, which is considered by some as prime commercial real estate. A deal to purchase county-owned property on the northwest corner fell through a year ago because of complications regarding access. The county also owns property on the other two corners of the intersection.

Wallace said other parcels within the vicinity have been appraised by various stakeholders, but the values varied significantly. Those differences prompted commissioners to vote more than a year ago to have four other parcels — all within the city’s northwest corridor — appraised.

“That died because of a lack of interest,” Wallace said, noting that the party which had expressed interest in property near Shawnee Bypass and 11th Street backed away after learning the prices of nearby parcels that had been sold.

“Our decision then was not to spend any money to have those properties appraised until somebody expressed an interest, kind of like this deal,” Wallace said, adding that  Muskogee County District Attorney “Larry Moore indicated we really needed somebody to express an interest to trigger an event like what we did today.”

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or