My wife and I purchased our land in the spring of 2019. I know that doesn’t seem that long ago, but in that short amount of time we have made a lot of memories on our acreage.
The land has some pretty unique features, one of which is particularly of interest. In the back of the property there is a bluff that overlooks the lowest spot of the land.
A few weeks after we closed on the land, I told my wife, who was still my girlfriend at the time, that I wanted to go work on the land. We went out there all dressed up ready to cut trails through the dense woods in order to mark the boundaries of the property.
What my wife didn’t know is that earlier that morning, I had ran out to the land to hide a picture frame with a poem I had written in it on that bluff. As she read the poem overlooking our land we had bought together, I asked her to marry me.
She said yes, obviously. We made plans to get married the following March. Invites were sent, venue booked, dress was bought.
As we waited for our day, I continued to work on the land with the help of my dad. We cut a driveway to the spot where we planned to build a shop for my business and a beautiful two story house with a wrap around porch on it.
Everything was sailing smoothly along. Then suddenly the week of our wedding, the entire nation shutdown due to Covid. I don’t know if you can understand how emotionally hard it is to call your entire family the week of your wedding, because some people in the government said so, but we did.
We spent what was supposed to be our wedding day installing a new stove and dishwasher to try and keep our minds off of the pain and the tears from falling.
After a few months, we began planning our special day once more, and by some miracle we were able to have our wedding in the fall of 2020. It was much smaller than the original plan, but we were able to get it done. The week after the wedding, everything went back on lockdown.
During the lockdown, I continued to work on our land and to get it prepared for our dream home. We had hopes on starting to build our house in the spring of 2021, but life continued to throw us curveballs.
This one was a blessing though. That spring we found out we were going to be parents, so we put our plans of building our home on hold for another year. In the fall of 2021, our little bundle of joy was born. We named her Emily. Our family was complete, but now more than ever we needed a bigger house. We couldn’t wait to move out to the land and raise our daughter out in the country.
I began designing the shop where my office was going to be located, so I could free up the bedroom from which I run my small business. Once the shop was done I would now have space to hire an employee.
On Feb 22nd, 2022, we got a gut punch in the form of the ACCESS Oklahoma. Not only was our land targeted by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, but they pin pointed the exact spot I proposed to my wife.
If the turnpike goes through as currently projected, I will not be able to show our daughter the spot, where her mom said, “Yes”, as the road is going right over our bluff. On top of that, the spot where our dream home was to built, will be only a couple hundred feet from the turnpike. Can’t build there now, as the path may move some, and who wants to build their dream house to look right at a turnpike.
The spot where we have fruit trees and planned to make a picnic area will be gone. The low lands where I wanted to build a pond, gone. Raising our daughter on the land we fell in love with, gone.
The plans the turnpike authority has robs not only my wife and I of our current memories, but steals the future dreams we had for our daughter and ourselves.
There are hundreds of stories like these from the people of Cleveland County. I ask that you please put yourself in our shoes for a moment.
Think of something you have worked so hard for your entire life, something you put your heart and soul into to build and craft, something that means more than money to you. Maybe it’s a car your dad gave before he passed away, that the two of you worked countless hours in the garage rebuilding. Maybe it’s a tree fort you built for your children. Think of how rewarding it is. How it’s part of who you are and how you wouldn’t want to trade it for anything.
Now, picture someone taking that away from you without your consent, that thing that no amount of money can compensate you for. That kind of theft leaves you with a wound that will never heal.
I implore each and everyone possible to please help us. Please share our stories so others know the true toll and horrors the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority reaps upon Oklahomans.