City Council approves change to Huston Center Duplex Housing

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell City Council met Thursday night, when the city's water department was honored and changes were made to the controversial Huston Center housing development.

The meeting began with Roman Stevens, the water department’s distribution and collection manager, being honored as a “Patriotic Employer” by Mikael Armantrout, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard.

Armantroutpraised Stevens for being supportive and willing to help him balance his work with the City of Blackwell and his duties with the National Guard. Stevens then recognized his men at the department for their work on a Ferguson Avenue waterline break.

“Our guys are the best,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what we’d be without them.” Other city department leaders gave their reports as well.

Fire Chief Cory Hanebrink discussed the department’s busy weeks dealing with various fires and medical calls caused by fireworks and heat. Blackwell Public Library Director of Operations Talyn Spence spoke to the Council as well, informing them of the library’s events and increased traffic.

Moving onto business, the City Council approved an amendment to the contract between Freedom Homes, LLC, and the City of Blackwell for the Huston housing development. Freedom Homes would build four duplexes instead of the planned five.

The space allotted for the fifth duplex will be used as a playground area. This change was made to placate concerns about the removal of the playground area at the former school.

A meeting in June was heard from residents in the area who were concerned about children not having a place to play.

The Council then approved payments to the Blackwell Tourism Board of $3,500 per month and the Top of Oklahoma Museum of $2,500 per month for the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year. The meeting ended shortly after 7:30 p.m.