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KRMG In-Depth: Jenks officials remain mum on land deal involving CARES Act money

This image was posted on Jenks Mayor Cory Box's Facebook page. It shows the boundaries of the property in question.

It appears the City of Jenks is prepared to spend $6.5 million on a piece of land near 106th and South Elm which was recently assessed at less than half that value, and will spend CARES Act money that had been set aside for a new fire station.

Former City Councilor Kaye Lynn tells KRMG she has a number of objections to the transaction, and she’s not the only one - KRMG has heard from residents and business owners in Jenks with similar concerns.

[Hear our KRMG In-Depth report on the Jenks land deal HERE]

However, calls to Mayor Cory Boxer and City Manager Christopher Shrout elicited no response at all.

KRMG also spoke, on background, with a current city councilor who said he was essentially unaware of any details about the deal - although his name, along with those of other councilors, were included in a post on the mayor’s Facebook page, implying he had knowledge of - and had consented to - the deal.

The land involved is known as “the ranch,” and sits on the northwest corner of West 106th Street and South Elm Avenue in Jenks.

A document attached to the city council’s agenda for its June 6 meeting (page 388) indicates that the city has agreed to pay $6.5 million for that property.

Lynn says that money, which comes from CARES Act funds received by the city, was set aside in April to pay for a new fire station after the city had to close Station One due to mold.

“When the budget committee met in April 17, 2023 they earmarked $6.5 million from the CARES Act for the fire station,” she said Monday.

That money, it now appears, will pay for the ranch, instead.

“Now keep in mind, it (the land) was assessed by the appraiser for 2.9 (million dollars). It was on the market for 4 (million dollars),” Lynn added.

The document referenced above clearly states that the purchase price for the land will be $6.5 million.

In a May 26 post on Facebook, Mayor Cory Box wrote that “We believe the ranch property at 106th and Elm (West side) provides a wonderful opportunity to establish a large open space for our citizens and businesses, while also making The Hive available to meet the need of a permanent indoor community space for our senior citizens group and civic clubs.”

He doesn’t mention that the city had apparently signed an agreement to buy that property on May 17.

Karen Anderson, a Jenks business owner, tells KRMG the city already has plenty of park space, and a perfectly suitable community center.

She notes that right across the street from the ranch, sits a huge development which will become a Cal Ripken Experience baseball facility.

“The city just gave away f40 acres to the developer that’s going to develop that,” she told KRMG. “So we’re giving away 40 acres, but we’re buying 25 acres on the other side of the street, in the same area.”

Both women called into question the infrastructure in the area, specifically roads, and say it can’t handle the traffic which exists now, much less what it will be expected to support when a new mall opens nearby.

The Jenks City Council meeting for June 6 is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.

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