Mess holds up Route 66 development

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Reported by: MirandaChristian
Updated: 6/20/2013 9:29 am Published: 6/19/2013 9:28 pm

Route 66 has always offered a lot to see. Now, some can't stand to look at it.

"It hasn't been mowed in a while," said Matt Crain.

Crain grew up a few blocks away from Crystal City.

The way the area looks now isn't how folks picture Green Country. Instead of attracting people to Route 66, Crain said, it's repelling them.

"We'd like to see the whole thing come together in a more attractive first experience for Tulsa," said Crain.

Crain is president of the Southwest Chamber. Among the problems in the area, he points to Eli Sumrall.

"Well, sorry about the way it looks," said Sumrall.

FOX23 took a walk around Sumrall's shop. He admitted he should get rid of some of junk on his lot: the old cars and tires, but not his travel trailer. He's been living in it.

Sumrall said he prays for the thieves he said try to take the little he has. He figured as long as he lives near, thieves will be more likely to stay away. He knows it's not a perfect situation, and Crain wants to see it gone.

Crain said the city can't do anything about it.

"By state law, a railroad right of way is exempt from local city codes," said Crain.

Fox23 called Burlington Northern, but couldn't reach anyone. Turns out, Sumrall said he can't get the answers he wants either. He is leasing the land from the company, but said that Burlington Northern won't do its part to keep it cleaned.

Meantime, Sumrall said he's had 23 break-ins in the last year and a half.

"It's more expensive than it is frustrating," said Sumrall.

Crain said he plans to organize a group of volunteers to clean up the area.

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