March 5, 2014

Council approves sale of land for truck stop construction

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


Chickasha will see a new truck stop some time in the next three years after the city council voted to sell 17 acres of land to Mike and Scott Bradford for development. 

The facility will be located at the Northeast corner of Highway 81 and Highway 62. The business will feature a 24-hour restaurant, tire shop and truck car wash in addition to fueling stations and a convenience store. 

The council voted 8-1 to sell the land with Mayor Hank Ross dissenting. 

"I think we sold this land for too cheap and I didn't like the structure of the deal," Ross said. 

The Bradford's bought the land for approximately $15,600 per acre with a total cost of $265,000.

Chickasha Economic Development Council President Christy Elkins said she and the Bradfords have studied the feasibility of this project for the last eight months. 

"We did a lot of studies on truck traffic coming through and the potential future of the area," she said. 

There were other parties interested in developing the land, according to Ross, which could have brought more revenue to the city. 

"We should have given the other bidder more opportunity to present their case, but the council members wanted to go forward with the Bradfords," he said. 

Despite disagreeing with the decision, Ross said he will support the development of the truck stop in any way he can. 

"I think it will be positive as a destination truck stop and will be a good entry way for the bypass," he said. 

Should the Bradfords not develop the land in the next three years, the parcel will return to the city's control. 

In addition to the money received from the Bradfords, the council also approved a bond proposal of $9.8 million allocated for work Chickasha's water treatment plant. 

"We will use money from the CIP tax to pay back the bond," Ross said. "Basically this gives us our money up front, so we can work on this now. This will prevent us from having to deal with potential inflation increases over the next 10 years."

The bond was negotiated with a 2.27 percent interest rate and the money is available for use immediately, according to Ross. 

"Now we won't accumulate construction costs," he said. 

As the money starts flowing in, the city will also look to extend the Ft. Cobb intake pipe. The council accepted a permit allowing the extension of the pipe, which should start in the summer Ross said. 

The city's efforts at beautification took a step forward as well Monday night. 

Chickasha acquired four dilapidated residential properties from Grady County. Ross said the city is looking for developers to reconstruct the structures on the respective plots.