I wanted to take a moment to expand on and clarify my statement about the possibility of closing Turner Street, which appeared on the front page of the Friday, June 21st edition of The Ada News.
The original quote said, “To me, Turner Street is an impediment to us having the property we need to attract the businesses that we want to attract. I’m in favor of Turner Street going away all the way through the city, ...” This quote was part of a discussion during a city council meeting about the request by Trinity Baptist Church to close the half block of Turner that runs between their sanctuary building and their fellowship building. The economic development portion of why and how we may choose to close portions of Turner Street wasn’t a part of that discussion, so I didn’t go into further detail. Now that the quote has landed in the paper, I feel that those who own property on and around Turner Street may have been unduly scared by the statement as it currently sits. I want to try to relieve that fear and explain my thoughts.
First and foremost, I want to make it clear that I do not and will never support people being forced to sell their homes so that the city can have larger retail shopping centers. If you own a home on or around Turner and you don’t want to sell it, then this conversation is over. Period. End of discussion.
What I envisioned in my comments was a large retail store that wants to build a building (or a shopping center) that is too large to fit on the very small lots sandwiched between Mississippi and Turner. If this company wanted to purchase the property on Mississippi and the property on the other side of Turner Street, I believe the city should be willing to close Turner so that the business can locate there. (We’ve actually already done this once for Braums.) In this scenario, the city would only close the street after the property had been purchased.