OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City council’s last agenda item sparked the most conversation: Councilman Ed Shadid pushed to make the “egg church” a designated landmark.
“Just for a time out. Ultimately that’s what’s being asked for. Not a process where you can file a permit and 15 minutes later as is the case for the Founder’s Bank on May Avenue just start demolishing without any public process,” Councilman Ed Shadid said.
Several residents spoke in favor of making the church a landmark.
“This structure is an anchor to not only our historic area, but a part of the brand of Oklahoma City,” Matt Goad said.
“We would not have initiated this if had we not heard these buildings were going to come down,” Lynne Rostochil, author of a recent petition to designate the First Christian Church as a landmark, said.
But Reverend John Malget of First Christian Church opposed the designation.
“We are a community of faith trying to survive and putting this designation on our property will cause some problems even if we sell to someone who wants to keep the building and believe me, we want someone to buy the property who wants to keep the building.”
City council decided to delay the resolution vote until April 9 with the church agreeing not to demolish the structure before then.
The historic preservation commission meets April 3.
“To consider initiating the process to make it a landmark and they’ll talk about whether it meets the designation criteria,” Katie Friddle at Historic Preservation for the City of Oklahoma City, said.
Even if does meet that criteria and city council agrees, demolishing the church could still happen, it would just be a much more difficult legal process.
The church attorney David Box says he’s fighting for property owner’s rights.
“So that we can make decisions and buyers can make decisions without the burden of city council imposing its will on the property,” David Box said.
“You know I’m really grateful that the city council wants to take an in depth look at this and exam it from all sides,” Rostochil said.
Councilwoman Meg Salyer says she has spoken to two interested buyers to the property.
That historic preservation planning commission meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 3.