The issue of whether or not the Fairland Housing Authority should be allowed to build an approximately 78-unit low-income complex in Fairland is another step closer.

John Sparkman, FHA/Picher Housing Authority executive director, said the Picher Housing Authority, which is in the process of transferring its annual contributions contract to the Fairland Housing Authority, has taken an option on 18 acres on the west side of Highway 125 between East 182 Road and E 180 Road. There is a two-acre parcel on the southeast corner of Highway 125 and E 180 Road that is not included in the site the PHA has an option on.

PHA Attorney Eric Wade said if the housing authority exercises its option with Jimmie and Frances Turner before Feb. 28, 2014, it can buy the 18 acres for $70,200.

Sparkman said they received five proposals when they advertised for possible sites. “Each site was scored on its location, infrastructure and other issues. Despite the Turner's site being outside the town limits – it is contiguous to the town – and will have to be annexed to the town, it was judged the best and most feasible site for the future housing authority's housing complex,” he said.

Sparkman told the FHA board Tuesday that now that they have secured an option on the land, they are aiming to get the issue on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.

He added, “We haven't decided on dates for the public meeting(s) on the issue.”

The first meeting, according to Wade, will be a joint meeting between the Town of Fairland Board of Trustees and the commissioners of the FHA. Then, the housing authority may hold one or two more meetings, depending on what the law requires and what it takes to get all the residents' questions answered.

“We are not going to pull the wool over anyone's eyes,” Sparkman said.

Jess Robinson, FHA's new board member, said, “I don't see how Fairland can lose on this proposal.”

Sparkman said if the Fairland voters approve the housing issue on Nov. 6, he would hope they could start construction in February 2013.

Present plans, he said, call for a 78-unit low-income housing complex with a wellness center, a community center and a maintenance barn.

Depending on money, the housing authority may have to build the complex in three or four phases, he said. “Ideally, we'd like to do it all at once.”

The FHA board members were pleased the proposal is moving forward so the public meetings and vote can be held on the issue.