Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 5, 2013

Groups want clutter reduced

The second in a three-part series on cleaning up Tahlequah focuses on ideas from civic organizations.

TAHLEQUAH — srowley@tahlequahdailypress.com

If one’s job is to sell businesses and tourists on the allure of Tahlequah, it can be complicated by the presence of trash, old signage and unkempt or abandoned property.

David Moore, executive director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce; Kate Kelly, chamber tourism director; and Drew Haley, director of the Tahlequah Main Street Association, believe unsightly areas hurt the image of the city, Cherokee County and the Illinois River.

“Trash is a problem that affects us all,” Kelly said. “It is unsightly to residents and travelers, as well as giving a negative impression to those who are passing through or coming to Tahlequah to float the river, visit Cherokee cultural sites, shop or visit festivals.”

Haley said litter and old signs negatively impacted perceptions of Tahlequah and its citizens.

“When such things are allowed to continue and go on, it gives the impression that there is no one who cares enough to point it out or try to stop it,” he said.

Kelly suggested that some residents may become accustomed to local clutter until they stop noticing it, adding that control of litter requires public money.

“Since funds must be spent for pickup and removal, the money is spread more thinly,” she said. “That means perhaps the rights of way don’t get mowed as often as the should, or infrastructure maintenance and repairs are not done as frequently. Also, much of the litter we see is recyclable. If recycled, it would not only cease to be an eyesore but not take up room in landfills.”

City officials have said new ordinances are being studied and that those charged with enforcement have their hands full.

“I would actually like to see greater enforcement of the current ordinances,” Moore said. “I appreciate the city council looking at new ordinances, but until we can enforce the ones we have, what good will new restrictions do?”

Moore said if the city is short on funds or manpower, priority might be placed on certain areas.

“I think some emphasis should be placed on the entryways to the city – north, south, east and west – since those are the first parts of the city people see,” he said. “Then we could focus on downtown, Muskogee Avenue, Downing Street, Choctaw Street. Later, we could look at the residential areas.”

While the chamber and main street organizations believe more could be done to combat blight, they stress that not all responsibility rests with local government. Businesses and property owners can do their share.

Kelly said citizens can work with the city to help reduce the problems of unsightly clutter.

“Talk to your city councilor if you feel strongly about this,” she said. “They are our voices and they are there for us. Be vocal. The more interest that is shown, the more priority it will receive.”

Moore said the chamber often receives complaints from businesses about each other.

“The complaints are often valid,” he said. “If you go out and look at what they are talking about, it isn’t something petty. I have seen instances where businesses pay groundskeepers to maintain adjacent areas that are not being kept up. The chamber appreciates that, but we don't believe that is the answer. Whether a business or residence, the owners are ultimately responsible for maintenance.”

Some people may have difficulty maintaining property, but Moore suggested those with financial or physical limitations seek assistance from Habitat for Humanity, churches and neighbors.

“People can help each other,” Kelly said. “If they see someone is having trouble with their home or lawn, they can offer to help. It helps keep the neighborhood beautiful and is an opportunity to get to know your neighbors.”

Northeastern State University President Steve Turner said those in need submit requests to several campus organizations or during service events.

“Each year, our students, faculty and staff work to assist individual homeowners, schools, churches and others by completing cleanup projects,” he said. “This year during the Big Event day in March, we had almost 800 volunteers who went throughout Tahlequah and completed almost 100 beautification projects.”

Text Only
Local News
  • ts-marching-MAIN.jpg Marching in step

    Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band kicks off 2014 season with summer drills.

    The Tahlequah High School Orange Express Marching Band has added 30-35 freshmen to its roster this year, and drills began for the newest members last Thursday.

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • studie-roberta.jpg Woman accused of stealing cash, taking it to casino

    A 35-year-old Tahlequah woman is free on bond after she allegedly took $1,200 from a man who had been jailed for old warrants.
    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies said they spoke with Jason Jones last week after Jones was arrested by park rangers for the outstanding warrants. Jones said he came to Oklahoma to see family, and when he was arrested, he left his wallet and cash with one of his daughters.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Hepatitis.jpg Hepatitis vaccinations important today

    The phrase “back to school” may be disdained by kids for many reasons, including a trip to the doctor’s office to update immunizations.
    But hepatitis cases in Oklahoma provide a good example of why these vaccinations are important.
    “There was a time when Hepatitis A was just crazy in Oklahoma. The state was actually known for it,” said Becky Coffman, an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma Health Department’s Acute Disease Service.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • hood-raymond.jpg One man caught, another sought after foot chase

    Two people tried to escape sheriff’s deputies, and one was successful, after a traffic stop on U.S. Highway 62 last weekend.
    Deputy Bryan Qualls was on the highway when he noticed a red Chevrolet Avalanche matching the description of a truck that had been spotted at the scene of a recent burglary.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Detectives investigate deaths of two elderly residents

    Incident may be murder-suicide

    Tahlequah police detectives believe the deaths of two elderly Cherokee County residents are part of a murder-suicide that took place July 24-25.

    July 29, 2014

  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating