Upset property owner in Durant speaks out to City Council - - No One Gets You Closer

Upset property owner in Durant speaks out to City Council

DURANT, OK --- Last week KTEN met with Mary Hall, a woman whose family has owned property in Durant for over a 100 years. Tuesday evening she, and others, spoke out in front of the city council in the hopes of keeping her homes standing.

"I fell in love with these homes as I drove by on the bus, school bus as a child,” said Hall. “It meant a lot to me because I knew the people and I was so amazed that I was ever able to purchase them."

Mary Hall believes the homes she's had for over 30 years are in safe and livable conditions. Tuesday evening she spoke before the Durant City Council in a scheduled hearing set to determine the future of her property.

"I'm pleading that they don't tear it down,” she said, “that they'll grant me a favor to keep my houses."

And while the council granted hall more time, on top of her allotted 30 days, to continue working on bringing the homes up to code, she and her supporters questioned the procedures the city has taken.

"All the 30 years I've owned them,” she said, “I never had problems with anyone breaking into my home."

Hall says after the orange 'condemned' sticker was placed on her door, people broke in and stole personal items. Hall even says the police tried to escort her away from the property.. During the time she was attempting to work on them. But Darla Smith with Community Development says those stickers have a purpose.

"The sticker on the door prevents people from living there through the night,” said Smith. “Homeowners can be there during the day, they can work on them during the day. We just can't have anybody in those homes at night. They are condemned for a reason. They're unsafe for people to be in."

Alisa Carter's historical property on West Main Street was served with a letter - taped to her door - warning of potential condemning. She says she isn't arguing the city's concerns, but thinks the notification process is flawed.

"I've had a few health problems lately and if i had not been able to go to my shop that day,” said Carter, “then I would not have seen that letter and I would have had ten days to comply with that letter. I can only imagine what would have happened if I hadn't shown up."

A big concern that the property owners KTEN spoke with have is for the historical side of Durant, buildings that have been in the city since its start in 1907. People have started a Facebook group called Durant Diggers and History in hopes of bringing awareness to how important it is to preserve those historical structures.