October 23, 2013

Council votes to shutdown airport trailer park

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


The city council voted to close down a trailer park located near the Chickasha airport last night, giving the current tenants a year to relocate. 

The decision was made after an analysis of the park revealed it would cost $190,000 to bring it up to code. The city said it will provide funding to help residents facing financial difficulties move.

Mayor Hank Ross said the decision to give money to residents will be made on a case-by-case basis. Ross said there are currently 12 trailers on the lot. 

City Manager Stuart Fairburn said he is looking into developing a means testing similar to federal guidelines used to determine low income. 

Ross said residents that move in the next six months will be given a $300 rebate, but those who refuse to move in the year will be evicted.

"Stuart (Fairburn) will bring information to the council before we evict anyone, but the city has to get out of the trailer park business," said Ross. 

Residents, who will face financial hardship from the move, are encouraged to contact the city now Ross said. 

Ron Baker wrote in response to a question regarding the closing on The Express-Star's Facebook that he is unsure whether the council made the right decision. 

"Several years ago, they closed the park for a reason I can't remember, Once most of the tenants were out, they reopened it," he said. "Hence, the original tenants were already out and settled in at other locations. Will the same thing happen this time?"

Council members Howard Carpenter and Mike Sutterfield voted against the motion.

A contract for the city's Street and Drainage Master Plan was also authorized during Monday night's meeting. Ross said the same group responsible for the current Wastewater Master Plan will be in charge of this document. 

"This will give us our first inventory of our streets and what needs to be fixed first," said Ross. "This will also connect both plans so we can fix everything at the same time instead of having to go back and tear up streets to add piping in the future."

The council also looked at a review of their financial investments from the past two years. Ross said he was pleased with what he saw and the returns the city received.