Friday, October 19, 2018

City Commissioners Vote to Buy Buildings

One of the buildings on Wheeler Ave.
purchased by the City of Sallisaw.

Sallisaw City Commissioners voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday to buy, for $475,000, the old Bill Willis building complex at 101-103 N. Wheeler Ave.

The buildings most recently housed the Creoks Mental Health service. Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens said Creoks has purchased the old Oak Ridge Assembly of God Church on Sallisaw’s north side, and moved there several months ago. It is expected that the city’s purchase will be finalized in November.

Martens said the purchase of the Wheeler Avenue property is part of a plan to provide better accommodations for city organizations and services. The east building will house the Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce, the NOW Coalition, and incubator space for new businesses which may want to locate in the city. The chamber is presently in an older building at the corner of Wheeler and Cherokee Streets. A plan by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to improve and widen that intersection will take away the parking in front of the chamber building.

And, Martens said, the current chamber building has so many problems it will most likely be torn down.

Martens said the west building on the Wheeler Avenue property will be remodeled for a new Sallisaw Civic Center.

Martens said, “It will have about three times more space than the present civic center. It will provide more space for the public.”

Also included in those plans are an expanded city commission meeting room and city courtroom.

What is now the civic center will most likely be remodeled for the Sallisaw Police Department, Martens said, and the old post office next door may be remodeled for office space.

“These are long-term plans.” Martens said. “It may be two years before we get all that done. We will remodel first for the chamber of commerce and the civic center.”

About the city’s plans for relocation of a veterans health care in Sallisaw, Martens said, “All I can tell you is it will be south of town.”

Sallisaw is one of three communities being considered by the state Department of Veterans Affair as a new location. The others are Poteau and Muskogee.

Martens said veterans department representatives have visited Sallisaw on several occasions, including on Friday, to view the city’s plans.

“They have made at least three visits,” Martens said. “We are hopeful.”

Martens said city representatives will be attending the veterans department meeting on Oct. 26 in Oklahoma City, when it is hoped the announcement will be made about where the new care center will be located.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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