Friday, October 19, 2007


Who cares if small businesses in some town in Oklahoma are forced to shut down as their town goes down the tubes?

Probably not even you, but for sure the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOD) doesn't seem to concerned.

They've decide to re-route a major highway in the area which will pretty much bypass the town and kill it off.

Mayor James Jennings explained to the Tulsa World most local businesses are either near the intersection of Oklahoma 51 and U.S. 69 or in the downtown business district east and south of that intersection. He seems to think, for some reason, if there is no highway, there will be no traffic, and if there is no traffic there will be no business.

How foolish of him.

The mayor, probably a good Republican, also says rerouting the highway to bypass the city would mean a decade-long setback in sales tax revenue.

Hey, its the job of ODOT to get people from point A to Point B...not to worry about some local small business owners.

Locals have offered counter plans, but they're are just local yokels and the big boys in Oklahoma City will decide what's best for them (and by them I have a feeling the them is them...if you catch my drift).

Anyway, this sort of thing happens everyday in America and most of us take no notice.

Maybe we should.

But for now, its getting late and I have to hit the road buckaroos...

The following article is from Fox 23 in Tulsa, Oklahoma USA.

Highway project has many upset

(WAGONER, Oklahoma)– There are new plans to widen and re-route a major highway and one Green Country community isn't too happy about it.

Right now Highway 51 runs through the city of Wagoner, but the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s new plan would change that.

One plan on the table would re-route Highway 51, completely bypassing the city of Wagoner. Some say that would force some businesses to shut down and would cripple the city for years to come.

FOX23 News heard from opponents of the plan and they say those changes could add up to big trouble for the city.

“It would have a huge negative effect, both economically and socially”, says Jeff Hamilton, President of the Wagoner Chamber of Commerce and a small business owner. Hamilton says there's a lot at stake, “It affects almost every aspect of life.”

He points to a huge push with state money combined with local efforts to revitalize Wagoner. “But at the same time, it seems like the Department of Transportation, they’re working against all our efforts.”

ODOT disagrees pointing out this plan is only one of three being considered. And only one of the plans calls for a complete bypass of Wagoner.

However Mayor James Jennings is convinced a complete bypass is a very real possibility. “But I think the Wagoner citizens will get together and voice our opinions with ODOT and I’m certainly hopeful that they’ll listen to us.”

ODOT says they’re working on an environmental impact study to help them determine which plan is best for the city, but some say they should include one more study, an economic impact study.

ODOT has already held four public meetings to involve Wagoner residents and are planning a fifth soon.

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