Guthrie landowners say ODOT is taking land unfairly

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GUTHRIE,Okla. - A battle over a bridge in Guthrie boils down to money.

Wednesday, more 50 landowners gathered to figure out why they are not being offered what their property is worth.

ODOT says they typically give initial offers and the landowners continue to bargain with them until they reach a deal.

"My father laid the groundwork, he laid the grout for this business and they're trying to take it away," Lance Benton, co-owner of Benton's Service Center in Guthrie says.

The business has been around for 33 years, but now ODOT says they need to leave.

The land is needed for a right of way to rebuild the 80 plus year old Cottonwood bridge that runs through town.

"Everyone is in the same situation, the property values they've given us will not buy another location," Benton says.

These people say what ODOT offered them is a joke.

"We've been here for so long, and just don't want to close down and the offer they gave us will not let us keep going," Benton said.

ODOT representatives say the back and forth is normal.

"If they have some other things or disagree with us about it, we want them to tell us what areas, why they feel like their business or their land or their home is worth more," Cole Hackett with ODOT said.

In a couple of years, this will actually be a state highway and it's got longtime business owners wondering where they will go.

"We're not looking to get rich off this project, we're just want to relocate our business and keep serving our customers and keep taking care of our employees," Don Benton, Co-owner of Benton's Service Center told us.

"We don't ever want someone to walk away from any of these purchasing things like that, feeling like they weren't treated fairly," Hackett says.

ODOT representatives say the money they pay these  landowners is taxpayer money and they want to be sure it all balances out.

They will also pay relocation costs in many cases.


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