MARSHALL COUNTY, OK ― A local group is crying foul over a land deal between a development group and the state of Oklahoma. The group says it wants answers― now. Daniel Armbruster has the details.
Nearly five years ago, the Pointe Vista Development Group began to take steps to purchase land in and around Lake Texoma State Park for private development. But now citizens in the area have a formed a group to stop the land deals.
Boyd Steele is president of the group "Friends of Lake Texoma State Park."
"What we see here is a very smelly situation," Steele says.
The group is against the private development of hundreds of acres in around the park area. Steele says he believes Pointe Vista is not obtaining the land legally, and says they have violated key provisions of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, which says Pointe Vista must identify the land where it plans to replace the state park once the land it has purchased becomes private.
Steele says they have not done that, and he is asking the Oklahoma Attorney General to step in.
"We really don't have a problem with somebody doing a development if it's done by the rule of law."
Boyd says the group is holding a meeting open to the public to try and bring both sides of this issue together.
"Hopefully bring out the truth of what's going on here. We've issued an invitation to all the state officials. Jay Paul Gumm confirmed to me this morning that he would be there."
We spoke with Oklahoma State Senator Jay Paul Gumm by telephone Monday afternoon. Gumm tells First News that he believes everything has been done legally and released a statement saying that “the benefits of economic growth like the Pointe Vista Development project are rare, and may not be seen in rural Oklahoma for a very long time.”
But Steele says the group wants documentation that the land deal is legal.
"No documentation showing that, all we have is lip service, and talk is cheap, and they've done plenty of it."
Senator Gumm's statement:
"I remain absolutely convinced private development at Lake Texoma is the key to a strong economy in Marshall County for decades to come. That is why we began this process.
We have a chance to have a great resort, along with a continuing state park presence in the county. Opportunities like this are rare for rural Oklahoma. If we miss this chance now, one like it may never come our way again."
-Jay Paul Gumm, Oklahoma State Senator
We did try to contact Pointe Vista, but our phone calls were not returned. The meeting will be held Saturday, January 31st at 2 p.m. in Kingston at BG's Catch on Highway 70.