Condemnation and fire
Both have some common traits. Both can be used for good, and both can be used for bad.
Condemnation when used for the public good, like the downtown Renaissance, is a good thing. Money spent from the city coffers was used to acquire properties and to build our new Event Center and to renovate Convention Hall. Money well spent. It enhances the public well-being and all citizens are equally welcome to enjoy the civic improvements.
Economic development is also a good thing. It provides jobs and creates tax revenue for cities to operate and to create amenities such as parks, water parks and trail systems. All contributing to the quality of life for the citizens of our community.
Now, condemnation also can be used by city government for economic development. It can be used as a tool to force property owners to sell or face court action that will take away their private property at a price determined by others. When city government joins hands with private enterprise using public tax dollars to benefit the developers, the investors and their agents at the expense of the homeowner, the tenant and the public funds, then like fire, condemnation can be a bad thing.
The Lahoma Addition, located just east of Hobby Lobby, is home to approximately 80 families. What possible good is served by forcing these homeowners and tenants to vacate their homes in the name of economic development? Enid is already experiencing a shortage in low to moderate rental housing, so why add to the problem? All this pending upheaval is so unnecessary when other avenues to accomplish economic development are available.
When public funds from the city coffers join with private investors in our real estate market, we all need to be watchful and correctly concerned. In contrast, when private enterprise money invests in Enid, let's move out of the way and give a supporting hand.
Bruce Thomas, Real Estate Broker, Enid