The Ardmore Main Street Authority took a significant step toward realizing the dream of a downtown park with the acquisition of land across from the Santa Fe Depot.
The authority met in a special meeting Wednesday afternoon and approved the purchase of land from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in the amount of $10,000. The BNSF railroad has a shed on the site, which will be razed, and cleanup will be necessary. In turn, the authority is in negotiations to lease property to BNSF. The lease, pending BNSF railroad approval, calls for a monthly rent fee of $1,000 for the shed and a couple of lots as well as another $1,000 for a building BNSF is currently renting. The lease is for five years, with a pair of five-year options. The property is located on the side of 3rd Street just east of Caddo Street, two blocks north of the shed located by the depot.
Board member Bill Dolman said the authority has been trying to purchase the BNSF property since 2010. He said the property is the final piece of the puzzle for building a proposed park by the depot.
“We made as many contacts as we could find that knew some folks in BNSF to see if they would talk to us and work with us,” he said.
Dolman said the closing date is Aug. 21, at which point, the authority can begin the process of cleaning up the property. There is hope that construction of the new park, which will serve as one of the centerpieces of the downtown district, can begin in 2015.
“We have a new area downtown we can all be proud of,” Dolman said.