Demolition crews are expected to soon finish the job Mother Nature started May 25 when a tornado destroyed the American Value Budget Inn.
The EF-3 twister that struck unexpectedly just before 10:30 p.m. killed Timothy Solis, 54, and his wife, Bridget, 47, and injured 29 others at the Skyview Mobile Home Park, just to the west.
It then hit the motel before crossing U.S. 81 and inflicting great damage to the Frontier Jeep-Dodge-Chrysler dealership as well as the Economy Express Motel.
The Diffee and Rick Jones auto dealerships received damage, as did a used car lot run by Jake Haller.
City Manager Jeremy Frazier said the owner of the American Value Budget Inn has hired a contractor to begin removal of what’s left of the building.
A permit from the state is all that is needed for the demolition to begin.
Frazier said the property owner has told him future plans for the location are “up in the air.” He said the owner is waiting on the insurance settlement to decide whether to rebuild or look at other options.
“He said the insurance payout is pending,” Frazier said, referring to the owner.
Because of the age of the motel and depreciation, the payout may be reduced which would make rebuilding a challenge.
While the owner said he would like to rebuild, he’s in a wait and see situation at this time.
Across U.S. 81, Frontier’s Boyd Stuckey said the plan is to rebuild a “state-of-the-art” dealership. He said no time line has been established, but the plan is to “definitely rebuild.”
Work is under way at the Economy Express Motel. The office at the motel was damaged and a number of windows were blown out by the storm.
A manager at the site said no date has been set for reopening, but a construction crew was on-site Thursday morning working on the office area.
Frazier said the city is working with property owners impacted by the storm.
The area of U.S. 81 and SH 66 just north of I-40 is seeing more development as Crossroads Pointe builds out. A new $10 million healthplex to be built by the city and leased and operated by SSM Saint Anthony’s Health is planned for groundbreaking there in October.
Also, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation plans to build Oklahoma’s first roundabout situated on a highway at the 81 and 66 junction.