, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 20, 2013

Appearance not part of city code

Two buildings recently approved for demolition in downtown Muskogee have sparked a reaction among history buffs.

The Bully Good Saddle Shop and Kress’ Department Store will soon be no longer.

Some would like to see Muskogee take action to preserve the remaining buildings downtown.

Sue Tolbert, director of the Three Rivers Museum, said the city needs to adopt codes or guidelines for exterior condition of commercial buildings.

“They need to develop a preservation plan and develop codes that do not allow building owners to let their buildings deteriorate to the point they have to be torn down,” Tolbert said.

City Manager Greg Buckley said Muskogee does not have ordinances that cover appearance of properties.

“Somebody can paint a building purple, and we can’t do anything about it,” Buckley said.

Buckley said it is possible for cities to pass such ordinances.

Oklahoma City’s exterior structure codes require properties have no visible holes, breaks or loose or rotting materials and all doors and windows be in good repair and weather-tight.

Fort Gibson’s codes are less specific than OKC:

• “All structures and grounds shall be maintained in good condition in keeping with the historic nature of the site designated.”

• “All interior portions of structures shall be kept in such good repair to the extent necessary to prevent structural deterioration.”

In a four-block radius near the center of Muskogee’s downtown, of 82 buildings observed, 14 would not meet the code requirements of Oklahoma City or Fort Gibson. Of those, 13 were unoccupied buildings or storefronts.

Fort Gibson also has an ordinance that requires property owners downtown to get approval from the town’s planning and zoning commission before making changes to building exteriors.

Steve Clinkenbeard, a member of the commission, said the town adopted a commercial business district that goes about a block each way north, south, east and west from the stoplight at Lee and Poplar streets.

“So any colors, signage, building materials must be approved by the commission,” Clinkenbeard said. “And that is a recommendation that goes on to the Board of Trustees for the final approval.”

Clinkenbeard said Fort Gibson’s downtown has greatly benefited from private investment.

“Private dollars is what you need, and that’s what really separates Fort Gibson — the people who have bought these old buildings and are willing to put money in to them,” he said. “And even though there are vacant buildings, they are in good condition and available to rent if someone wants them.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or

Text Only
Local News
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

     View Results
Featured Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.