ADA — After cutting through rolls of red tape, Ada's former Trader Mills property may some day see a facelift in the form of an interactive learning center.

Dr. Joe Braly, President of Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation, said he noticed the seemingly abandoned property, located on Broadway Ave., when he moved back to Ada two years ago and wanted to do something about it. Braly said he expressed an interest to Burlington-Northern Railroad several months ago about acquiring the property and proposed the company donate it to Tri-County to create an inter-active learning facility with a transportation theme. The acquisition Braly desired has not been a simple process thus far.

According to Ada City Attorney Alvin Files, "The railroad only has an easement on the right-of-way. Under one federal law, which the railroad used to acquire easements through Indian Territory, when the railroad ceases to use the easement, the property may revert to the city. However, in order to get the property the city has had to file a lawsuit against the railroad to determine whether the property has been abandoned by the railroad."

Braly said the problem here is determining abandonment. Braly said although the property appears to be abandoned, Burlington-Northern has maintained some control by keeping the property locked.

Before the city gains rights to the property, its sale must first be advertised.

In a city council meeting on Jan. 3, 2006, council authorized the city to receive bids on the property.

"The buyer would be buying the city's interest, if any,” Files said. “The buyer would then have to acquire a deed from the railroad, or in the alternative, file a lawsuit against the railroad to obtain a legal determination that the railroad has abandoned the easement and that the property then reverted to the city. As the owner of the city's interest, the buyer would then own title to the property," Files said.

Braly said he met with the rail-road's senior vice president and real estate group to discuss the situation and told them much of the current facility could be utilized "as is" for the learning center he is calling "Wagons to Wings.”

Braly said he recently met with Melvin Moran, of the Jasmine Moran Children's Museum in Seminole, who has offered to assist in the facility's creation free of charge.

"Seminole is a community of about 6,000, and the museum receives around 60,000 visitors each year," Braly said. "That is a huge economic impact on the community. We would hope to be at least that successful."

"Our ownership would benefit the entire community," Braly said. "Ultimately this will be a place where people will come from out of town to spend money in Ada."

"We feel this is a huge economic generator," Braly said.