DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Visitors to the Stephens County Courthouse will soon have to walk a little bit further.
District 2 County Commissioner Lonnie Estes says after years of searching for extra parking space, the county recently purchased land for a new lot, which is diagonal from the one they currently use. The timing is great, because just a few days after that purchase, they were told they need to vacate their existing lot.
The county has until June 1 to complete the move. They have a lot of work to do in a very short time, because the property they bought has a house on it.
For close to 20 years, the owner of the gravel parking lot has allowed visitors going to the Stephens County Courthouse to park there for free. Commissioner Estes says space has always been tight.
"During jury trials, this lot is packed. It's hard to find a place to park," he explained.
Unfortunately, the property they bought has a vacant house and a shed on it, so the project is a complete re-do from the ground up. He says once the paperwork clears in about a month, he should be able to get started on the lot.
"We'll hire somebody to come in and take out the house and shed back there. Then we'll have to hire somebody to come in and chip and seal it, because we can't do it ourselves," Commissioner Estes explained.
Despite the challenge involved in transforming the property into a parking lot, Estes says it was a good purchase.
"I'm much happier with this one. We were looking at one on the west side, but I'm much happier with this one because it's on the east side of the building," he said.
Estes says most of the courthouse traffic goes to the east side of the building. Estes calls the entire process not only a coincidence, but his saving grace.
"We'd be scrambling. Scrambling trying to find someplace else to park," Estes said.
Estes says there is still parking in front of the courthouse and around the side. He says the new parking lot will be able to hold around 27 cars. Estes says the land cost around $35,000.