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.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Stocks