City of Enid

ENID, Okla. — Property owners spoke in favor of selling their properties for fair prices in the Lahoma Court Addition, ahead of an Enid City Commission decision Monday to authorize condemnation proceedings if the city could not reach agreements with owners.

The city of Enid has been purchasing property in the housing addition for planned retail development and will recoup its expenses when it sells the land to Hunt Properties.

Most of the properties have been purchased, and just seven remain, City Attorney Andrea Chism said.

Rosalee Bridge, of Edmond, owns property at 2321 and 2317 E Court, as well as 805 and 809 S. Cleveland.

In 1968, Bridge saw a man hammering a stake in a yard on Cleveland and she purchased the properties.

“I had a vision in 1968, because it was directly across from the shopping center,” she said. “I thought, ‘Someday, they’re going to build something there’ ... little did I know it was going to take so long.”

Bridge said she attended the meeting to get some questions answered.

“The information that I’ve received so far is very vague, and I must add, maybe not even accurate,” she said.

Bridge said she received a letter from Chism on April 10 about contacting the attorney directly.

“I’ve called that office so many times that it’s pitiful,” Bridge said, adding she was told office training courses were keeping staff from answering the telephone.

Bridge said she wants to sell the property.

“But I’m not going to give it away. You cannot steal it,” she said. “And if you want to condemn it, I guess you just have to condemn it, but we’ll have to see you in court and if I lose, promise me you will see me again. I’ll appeal it. I have too much at stake in it.”

Chism said she left Bridge a voicemail Monday.

Bridge’s son, Richard Bridge, of Redondo Beach, Calif., noted condemnation could possibly take years.

“It’s hard to make a deal on the property when nobody will make an offer,” he said. “For the majority of people out there that we know, they want to sell at a fair market value.”

Richard Bridge said the commission established a fair market value when the city purchased a gas station on the corner of Cleveland and Garriott.

Also during the meeting, Vivian Atchinson — who represented her mother, Winnie Mae Fenimore, of Winnie Mae’s Barber Shop — brought up the gas station purchase.

She said $100,000 was offered for the barber shop — about $10 a square foot — while $795,000 was offered for the gas station on the corner.

“Those are both businesses with frontage. On the assessor’s records, that had the same appraisal date, the filling station value was just $94,000 more than my mother’s property,” Atchinson said.

She said documents for the meeting indicated fair, even, generous offers had been made by the city and rejected by the owners.

“My mother received one low-ball offer,” Atchinson said.

Her mother submitted a counter-offer and the city informed Nicholas Real Estate it was taking over the negotiations, she said.

“But we have not heard anything from the city,” Atchinson said. “Where are the fair, even, generous offers? We haven’t seen them.”

Chism said the vast majority of the remaining properties would not enter condemnation proceedings.

Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell said the resolution approved Monday would not close the opportunity for negotiations on the properties. He said if a property does go to condemnation, the eventual price would be based on appraisals and process.

“We run a risk here too. The city bears some risk should we go to condemnation, and I hope that we keep that in mind as we go through with these negotiations and negotiate prices,” he said, adding the properties could appraise higher than prices reached through negotiations.

Chism said she cannot file anything toward condemnation in the courts for at least 30 days — under the city’s charter — after passage of the resolution.

Ward 4 Commissioner Rodney Timm mentioned tabling the resolution until negotiations could be worked out on several more properties. Chism said she was concerned if negotiations were not successful, she would have to come back to the commission and would not be able to file for condemnation for 30 days from that date.

The resolution passed 6-1, with Timm voting against it.

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Involved in news reporting for about 15 years, I've been with the Enid News & Eagle since 2014, when my family moved to Enid to be on the family farm.

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