Tulsa Man Protests After City Condemns His Property For Detention Pond
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa man told News On 6 he wants the city council to stop trying to force dozens of people out of their homes in the Pearl District. John Dawson's home was condemned as part of the city's plan to create a detention pond project to relieve flooding.
District 4 City Councilor Kara Joy McKee said the project has been on the books for around 20 years before she was even elected to office. She said she's working to find answers just as much as residents in the neighborhood.
Dawson said his home in the Pearl District is his family's little slice of paradise.
"I can see how it might not be appealing on the surface to some people, but it wouldn't take long for most people to realize it's pretty awesome," he said.
Dawson said now, he's being told his house no longer belongs to him.
"My house is in the court system now as being condemned by the city of Tulsa for eminent domain," he said.
McKee said the city and its engineers are looking to move forward with a pond detention plan.
"Eminent domain is an absolute last resort," she explained.
McKee has been in office since late last year. She said this plan was passed in the 1990s, but the city has been waiting for funding.
"I'm still learning about this too," she said. "I know there are neighbors who have concerns; I have concerns as well."
She said the city will offer homeowners a fair market price for their homes, but those homeowners have to communicate with the city. That's why she'll host a meeting to let neighbors know exactly what's happening from here on out.
"I am personally going to make sure we've notified everyone who is on that map about when that meeting is. If I have to go knock on their door and hand them a flyer myself, we're going to make sure they know," McKee said.
Dawson said what he wants is for the city council to stand up for what's right, and stop this process altogether.
"I have a hard time letting go of a house that I've sold rightfully to another person in the community, much less, not having a choice in the matter," he said.
Dawson said she's planning that meeting for sometime next month, and she hopes everyone will have the chance to come and let their voices be heard.