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February 22, 2018

Cleaning up The Town


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Memories of Mrs. Moore walking her little poodle in the evenings, and Mr. Moore walking down to the end of Main Street to his barber shop came flooding back to some Luther Residents on Tuesday as the little house where the Moores once lived was demolished.

With a date of 1915, according to Oklahoma County records, the house was once a home in the growing Town – as barber shops, grocery stores, banks, feed stores and doctors offices came and went (and came again). But the house became abandoned and over time sank into dilapidation. For years it sat – a haven for stray cats, squatters and some say skunks. The Town of Luther pressed to remove what had become an unsafe eyesore. For months, the Town Board of Trustees worked on the paperwork and funding to legally condemn the property and have it razed.

The property between Josephine’s Cafe and the S&H Mercantile on First Street is owned by the heirs of the owners. “They will be responsible for the mowing and upkeep on the property as long as they own it. The Town will send them a bill for the demo and give them a certain time to pay it. If they do not pay, a lien will be placed on the property and they will not be able to sell it until the lien is paid or the Town releases the lien,” said Scherrie Pidcock, Town manager.

A few hours after the demo began, the lot was clean and the crew from Midwest Wrecking moved to the house with the “hanging back porch” to raze it. The house on Main south of downtown is also more than 100 years old according to county records. That property was deeded to the Town from the heirs of the owner, and a ceremony honoring the family is expected to be planned.

No word on plans for this now vacant lot. Mayor Jenni White said she is grateful to fellow Trustee Jason Roach for pursuing the demolition of both structures.

“As to what to do with the one we own, I don’t think we’ve even started to think about what to do with it. Our comprehensive plan won’t be finished until next month and we’re waiting so many things on that, plus it’s been a long haul to get them down. Thank goodness for Jason’s willingness to stick with it and get it done! I doubt either would have gotten done without him,” said White.

Read more about the Master Plan work here. The cost of the demolition of both properties is expected to be less than $15,000, according to action approved by the Trustees.

While some were happy to see signs of the town being cleaned up, others lamented the loss, even though the structures were beyond repair. It has created a discussion about the  reponsibility of property ownership and civic responsibility in being part of a community.

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