MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 1, 2012

Authority needs land at fair price


— Muskogee must press forward with its efforts to resurrect a potential economic growth area while remembering to be fair to those the project would displace.

The Urban Renewal Authority has been working to determine whether blight exists within an area targeted for redevelopment.

The area is bounded by Chicago Street on the east, 11th Street on the west, Shawnee Bypass on the north and Talladega Street on the south.

If the area is determined to constitute a threat to the community, the authority could reclaim and rehabilitate it.

The area could become prime retail, restaurant and commercial space — given its proximity to the growth exhibited on Shawnee Bypass.

The authority has seen a presentation that included photographs of several overgrown lots, illegal dump sites, dilapidated or condemned structures, and other homes where code violations were found.

There were some nice homes within the boundaries, too.

Officials are considering applying for a grant from the City of Muskogee Foundation to buy available property within the targeted area.

Our community needs the sales tax revenue and potential commercial property taxes that could be generated from a reclamation of this area.

But those who have lived within the targeted area deserve fair value for their homes, too.

The city should not be held for ransom, either.

We need the area, but we need to be fair.