Tulsa eminent domain conversation continues in second meeting in two days

Posted at 10:35 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 11:53:03-04

TULSA — The plan to bulldoze an entire Tulsa neighborhood opened for discussion for a second time in two days.

Tulsa City engineers want to build a pond for floodwater in the Pearl District where 45 properties sit.

Tulsa property owners fighting to keep homes from eminent domain

Now, residents are fighting to keep their homes. They dished dozens of questions to Tulsa’s team of engineers.

One of the concerns stems from FEMA denying funding for the project. Despite that, Tulsa engineers continue to push for it.

Lead Engineer, Brooke Caviness says, "The only question we don't have an answer to is the FEMA denial, because we weren't involved at that time. I wasn't involved at that time. We're researching that, hope to have answers soon."

The city submitted a funding application for the "West Pearl basin" in 2011.

Tara Dawson, a Pearl District resident says, "From all of our research and data that we can find, we can't find anything that correlates between a reduction in flood plain management here. We're here fighting for our constitutional right of home ownership."

Dawson spent a year renovating her home. Her family moved in July. The city condemned it a few weeks later. She wonders why a pond is needed in an area that is not a major flood zone.

Caviness responds to that concern with: "This area is upstream of a lot of drainage issues. We put this detention pond upstream so it will hold the water back."

The city is looking to put the future pond in the Pearl District, east of downtown where another pond already exists. They say an extra one would provide more water storage.

Gaby Tarvin, another resident, says, "We do not want to lose our homes. We do not want to move! This is our home and this is our neighborhood."

Caviness says, once all homes are bought, they will be torn down, if the project moves forward.

"Unless the project is moved or postponed or eliminated, we have to move forward with this project. It's for the greater good of Tulsa."

The team of engineers assure residents the project's design is not set in stone, and they want to continue an open discussion.