My wife and I purchased our first home in Harrah, back in 1995. It was a small home on one acre of land and a huge responsibility for a 19 year old. We loved our first home because of the freedom and privacy it provided our growing family. A few years later, my beautiful daughter was born. What a day! We have many fond memories of our little family growing up in Harrah. We enjoyed attending Harrah Days, swimming, fishing, biking, walking in the park, and other outdoor activities. By 2008, hard work and better employment opportunities allowed us to move to our forever home in Harrah. In 2010 I started my own small service business that I operate from our homestead. Our American dream had finally been achieved.
At the beginning of 2016 we started hearing about Driving Forward. The more research we did, the more concerned we became. Concern turned to horror as we realized how indebted and unaccountable the Turnpike Authority is. After a few days worth of digging it quickly becomes evident OTA's business plan mirrors that of most ponzi schemes. Should the project go forward, We fear that our close proximity to the turnpike will force us to move from our dream home. We do not want to look out our front door at a swath of unnecessary asphalt, an ever present reminder of when our City Council turned it's back on property rights for the promise of a dollar. We definitely cannot afford the health consequences of living near a highway. We have never researched an issue as carefully and thoroughly as this project. We will see, hear, and breath this unnecessary turnpike every day of our lives. We believe it will be detrimental to the wonderful town of Harrah. It will also prevent us from driving directly West to care for our 91 year old grandmother. Moving her from a facility in North Carolina was contingent on our family have quick and direct access to her should an emergency arise. Oklahoma Turnpike Authority knows our city has a grid lay out. But they have refused to discuss any East/West access point across or under the potential turnpike. This rather suggests they don't have any intention of leaving those access points for residents. The politicians want this for growth but they don't have a crystal ball. It is as likely that they will turn Harrah into a ghost town as they develop it. Either way, they will ruin our city. If we are forced to sell, we will probably lose money during the downgrade. We will be forced to move into town, or move farther away from those we are obligated to care for. Neither is an acceptable option for us. People don't drive all the way to East Oklahoma County to live next to a noisy turnpike. They do it for the small town atmosphere and friendly people. I have this visceral feeling that I must fight against this project as hard I can. There are good people here that need help before they are displaced by this travesty. Neighboring supporters who will not be affected by the turnpike at all have called us "provincial" for holding onto our dreams. There is nothing small about loving the life you have.
"Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth."
― William Faulkner