Tulsa Residents Upset For City's Plan To Use Eminent Domain For Detention Pond

Monday, October 14th 2019, 10:41 pm
By: Justin Shrair

The City of Tulsa held a public meeting to discuss the building of a Pearl District detention pond. 

The detention pond would require the city to take more than 40 properties. Gabriela Tarvin is one homeowner in the area, and she believes it is unfair. 

"They want to come and take it, and it's not right. I didn't think I was going to see this type of behavior in the U.S., and it's salt in my eyes," Tarvin said.

To create this pond, the city is in the process of acquiring 45 properties located between 4th and 6th street, from Owasso to Madison.

"It improves flooding across the BA expressway, it improves flooding across many of the city streets--a lot of the downtown area," said Brooke Caviness, lead engineer of Stormwater Design for the City of Tulsa. 

So far out of the 45 properties, the city has purchased 12 and is actively acquiring five.

Three of the five are being taken through eminent domain. The city says building this detention pond is necessary for safety.

"Give us a chance; work with us. We are doing two appraisals per property. We are offering the highest of the two appraisals. We are helping with moving expenses," said Caviness. 

District 4 City Councilor Kara Joy McKee says she doesn't yet know if taking homes and building the pond is necessary, and is open to a lot of options - including possibly slowing down or stopping the project altogether.

"If it is necessary for the safety of the city, then it makes sense to me, but if there are other options, I think we need to explore them," said McKee.

Residents like Tarvin said they just want to stay in their homes and in their community.

"I want to see our Pearl polished. I want to see the Paul Harvey house saved. I want to see this historic neighborhood keep blossoming like it has. It has become a community to us," Tarvin said.

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