FOX23 Investigates: Pearl District Buyout Battle

WATCH Janna Clark’s investigation Tuesday on FOX23 News At 5

FOX23 Investigates: Pearl District Buyout Battle
Pearl District residents are concerned about the City of Tulsa using eminent domain to take their homes for a detention pond project. (FOX23)

TULSA, Okla. — Taxpayers are paying for a city flood project FEMA wouldn’t pay for.

The project is the subject of an ongoing dispute between the City of Tulsa and people living in the Pearl District neighborhood near 6th Street and Peoria.

The city says they have been planning to buy out homes in the area for three decades in order to build a detention pond meant to prevent flooding there and downstream.

Content Continues Below

However, some of the people living there don’t want to leave and don’t think there’s a significant public safety issue there. They say they think the city wants the area for economic development.

Pearl District residents are concerned about the City of Tulsa using eminent domain to take their homes for a detention pond project.
Pearl District residents are concerned about the City of Tulsa using eminent domain to take their homes for a detention pond project. (FOX23)

The city has bought about a dozen properties and has about two dozen left to go.

The nonprofit Institute for Justice is backing neighbors living in the Pearl District fighting against the city’s use of eminent domain. The Oklahoma constitution says the government can take people’s homes using eminent domain if it’s for public use, but not for economic development.

The city has put the project on hold and says it is looking for potential alternatives.