City Council: New housing coming to Blackwell

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell City Council convened for their final meeting of 2023 last Thursday night to approve lot splits and to award the Water Department Control & Distribution division on their winning of the city’s first-ever Department Christmas Tree Contest.

The meeting began with City Manager Jerry Wieland presenting the Water Department with the Christmas Tree Award, praising all departments for the creativity in the contest which ran for the last month.

The contest saw 10 departments within the City of Blackwell decorating their own Christmas tree with what best represented their respective departments. The trees were displayed in the Blackwell City Hall and voting was open to the public both in-person and online.

Wieland stated that he appreciated the overwhelming voter turn-out and the community support behind the contest, which the City plans to bring back for Christmas 2024.

Moving onto business, the big-ticket item of the night was a lot split on Meadow Lane near the Southwest Cupid Softball Complex. The newly split 8 lots will be the future site for 8 planned “cottage” homes, which would be just under 900 square feet.

The homes have a build time of under 100 days, and will be sold at first then rented if they are not sold. There are 12 homes in total planned, but there are 8 that will be built to start.

“These will be very affordable,” said City Manager Wieland

The lot split and homes were approved at a brief Thursday evening meeting of the City of Blackwell Planning Commission.

Willard Barnett of Builders Investment Group LLC explained to the Commission earlier in the night that these homes are a response to the growing need in rural Oklahoma for homes that are affordable and new.

As an example, Barnett stated they had taken an 860 square foot apartment plan, and turned it into a housing concept in Perry.

“We want to build these up and down I-35,” said Barnett. “We just built 6 this month in Chickasha.”

The homes are handicap accessible and built to be as modern as possible. Barnett also told the Planning Commission that the homes will be maintained and well-kept.

“We won’t just rent these to anybody, if you don’t mow your lawn, we’re mowing it. We will have a super tenant here that will be look over these properties.”

“We’re trying to be an asset to these communities,” he said.

The item was approved by the City Council as well.

The other major item for the night was a matching grant of $150,000 which was awarded to the City of Blackwell by the Northern Oklahoma Development Authority. This The Rural Economic Action Plan Grant (REAP) will go towards the Water Treatment Plant’s Lime Slaker replacement with additional funding from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program from the State of Oklahoma.