We lived for years on a very tight budget, sacrificed vacations, and our kids shared a room to save money so we could buy this property and build our dream home. We wanted our children to remain in Norman public schools and enjoy a rural setting. In 1992 we bought this lot in East Norman at the edge of the city limits. We then drew our own floor plans and specs, cleared the house location by hand to preserve the trees, and hired a local builder. August of 1993, we moved in, kept our budget frugal, and continued to minimize vacations and discretionary expenses in order to pay off the loan and retire early. This was part of our life investment strategy. We intended to remain here until our late senior years and then sell the property to fund our elder care needs.
The loan was paid, we retired early, and our children are grown with families of their own. Our home holds a lifetime of memories of holiday celebrations, campouts with the grandkids, baby showers, wedding receptions, graduations, and many dinner parties with family, friends and neighbors. It is our family’s heritage and our safe space.
Over the years, many of our neighbors have become close friends, actually, part of our family. This neighborhood is a close community, from all backgrounds, and are diverse, supportive, caring, and watchful of each other. We have worked together on each other’s home improvements, patio projects, gardening, painting, pet sitting, and caring for each other in times of need.
The announcement of the Access Oklahoma plan publicized a map showing the Kickapoo South Extension monster right in our front yard, taking many of our neighbors’ homes, killing property values and our own investment plan. Now we cannot count on the property to fund our elder care years. We are all being held hostage by the OTA. This unlawful turnpike threatens our future, our future in this neighborhood, and our future elder care. The market value of our homes is ruined, and we have little hope of finding anything nearby to match our homes’ replacement value. Our neighborhood is stuck at the mercy of political bureaucrats’ decisions.
Many more Oklahomans face this dilemma and now our futures are uncertain and distressing. The OTA referred to us as “rooftops”. We are much more than “rooftops”, and we are certainly deserving of a much better plan than the one being forced upon us.