The Ponca City School District wants the property of Frances Welch along with other properties north of the High school to build the district’s new indoor and outdoor athletic facilities. The district is now asking the courts to take her land from her, along with the other properties.
The family of 92-year-old Welch says she can’t move from the house she has called home for over 70 years and would like to spend the rest of her days in because of her declining health.
Statement from PCPS and Ponca City Board of education:
Since 2007 the district has been working toward acquiring all properties between Brookfield and Comanche. We have been very transparent with property owners during this endeavor and have been open with the public.
During the 2015 bond election a long-range need for additional extra-curricular activity space was identified in the form of an athletic field and a multi-purpose indoor facility.
The district has requested to meet with the family multiple times. We are still willing to meet with and work with the family to develop and provide creative options to best serve the needs of Mrs. Welch.
We are sympathetic and we understand this is a very emotional issue for all of us. We have exhausted all means. Eminent domain was the absolute last thing we wanted to do.
An eminent domain hearing is set for Thursday morning in Kay County to start the process. Lawyer Harlen Hentges, who represents the Welch family, is expected to ask the court to dismiss the petition.