Members of the Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority continue to explore a proposal that would place the community’s new indoor youth sports complex on tribal land near Interstate 44.
Trust Authority Chairman Brian Henry said the KCA Intertribal Land Use Committee acted earlier this month to create a subcommittee whose intent is to set negotiation points that would allow the trust authority to build its indoor sports complex on KCA land along the north side of Cache Road, between Fort Sill Boulevard and the interstate. The land use committee, comprised of representatives of the Kiowa, Apache and Comanche nations, said earlier this year it was interested in providing the land for what city leaders have tentatively identified a two-story building that would house indoor basketball courts that also could be used for soccer and volleyball, as well as associated amenities.
After Eastern Sports Management analyzed 10 sites, the Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority narrowed its interest to two: the KCA land and school land located south and west of Grandview Sports Complex near Eisenhower High School on Southwest 52nd Street.
Henry said the KCA subcommittee is slated to meet this week to begin setting negotiation points, which will be brought to trust authority members for discussion and agreement. Henry said he has met with KCA officials and representatives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and that governmental agency has indicated it has “no problem with the concept.” Because the discussion involves land held by the tribes in trust, the BIA must approve what some have called a unique partnership between community and tribal entities.
Henry said KCA officials said they want to sit down with trust authority members for negotiation as soon as they set their talking points, because everyone wants to move forward with the project.
“I look to June,” Henry said, of the estimated time frame he expects talks to begin.
In April, trust authority members said the KCA Intertribal Land Use Committee had appointed Comanche Nation Chairman Mark Woommavovah as their lead negotiator.
Public discussions date back to March, when the trust authority approved a non-binding letter of intent with the KCA Intertribal Land Use Committee. That letter centers on 80 acres in the 320-acre tract at the Cache Road/Interstate 44 area, and tentative plans had specified a long-term lease for a minimal yearly payment, plus intent to allow a payment equivalent to what the facility would pay in sales tax. Trust land is not subject to taxation.
At the same time, the trust authority moved forward with plans to file an application with the Commissioners of the Land Office for a long-term lease on 60 acres of school trust land near the Grandview Sports Complex. The authority still is looking at that plan, but Henry said progress has been slow.
School land is not sold. Rather, it is leased to entities for payment based on its fair market value, and the leasing entity is responsible for obtaining the appraisal. Henry said he is waiting for the land office to provide him that information.
“Still no information on that yet,” he said.
Henry said in March he expected the process with the land commission to take at least six months.