Skiatook Cleaning Up Dilapidated Properties in Push Toward Growth

Over the past several months, Skiatook has taken an aggressive approach to getting cleaned up. The town recently passed an ordinance requiring certain standards be met on residential property, giving owners the option to rehabilitate the property, or tear it down.

"In order for people to invest in communities, they want to see you're taking care of the communities, they want to see you're pulling maintenance on the communities," said Skiatook City Manager, Dan Yancey. He says it is all an attempt to get the small town looking its best and attracting new developers, along with potential homeowners. "Hopefully, we'll get investors to spur investment in the city to make it grow," Yancey added.

"I'm glad the city done it because you don't have to go past the stop sign to make a right turn there," said James Thurber, who lives right down the street from one of the homes the city demolished on South Broadway. He said the property had become a safety hazard to drivers and neighborhood children. Now, all that is on the corner lot is a cement slab.

But, as the city moves ahead with plans for growth, not everyone thinks the town needs much improvement. Joseph Graves retired to Skiatook from southern California and says, he does not miss the high crime and fast pace. "There is that hometown feeling that you get and you didn't have that with California," Graves said.

The project is expected to last for several years in an effort to capitalize on the town's potential.

Demolitions are charged to the owner of the dilapidated property.