BA Merchants Upset About Dismissal of EDC Employee

It has the look of a quiet main street, but there's big time drama unfolding in downtown Broken Arrow.

"I was very upset," said JoAn McCall.

"We don't really know what happened," said Chris Fornell.

The uproar and angst, centered around Tom Barnett, now, formerly with the BA Economic Development Corporation.

"My understanding is Tom Barnett has been terminated from his job," said Jim Farris.

News that shocked local business owners who up until 6 months ago were at major odds with the city over plans for downtown redevelopment.

"Everybody's heard all this before," said JoAn.

Well, just in case you haven't, the city is looking at reducing the number of lanes on main street and going from angle parking to parallel. Which peeved a lot of businesses, until 6 months ago when the EDC hired Tom.

"He helped us see both sides," said JoAn.

"For the first time we felt like things were starting to move forward rather than just be a battle," said Chris.

And then, just a few days ago, word spread that Tom was no longer employed by EDC.

"You know we make it a practice not to comment on personnel issues," said April Sailsbury with the BA Chamber of Commerce.

The hush hush was taken bad bad by someone, cause Tuesday morning, these signs were up on every light pole for two blocks.

"I was moving fast, I wasn't letting grass grow under my feet," said Jim.

Why was Jim Farris hustling? Cause somebody called code enforcement who proceeded to take down the signs, at least the ones that Jim didn't get to first.

"Probably about 15, maybe 20," he said.

The pushback by BA merchants.

"Bring Tom back!" said JoAn.

A main street campaign to keep progress moving forward.

"It's just a shame because now it feels like we're going to end up back where we were before they hired him," said Chris.