Buying a new home is a big deal. For many homeowners, it's one of the most important decisions they ever make. When it comes to such a substantial choice, there are a lot of factors to consider, like:
Getting the answers to those questions can be hard but finding a trustworthy manufactured home company can be even more challenging. Sure, you could settle for a fly-by-night company or a shady mobile home dealer. But if you're like most folks, you want to work with a reliable company that has been in business for years. You need a team of professionals who can answer your questions, address your concerns, and sell you a quality home that will keep your family safe and sound.
Welcome to Ken-Co Homes Inc. - your premier choice for mobile home sales in Sardis, SC. Ken-Co Homes has been Lake City's go-to manufactured home since 1974. With several locations in South Carolina, we're the first choice for manufactured homes in the state. As longtime locals in the community, we pride ourselves on honesty, hard work, and running a manufactured home business that you can count on.
There's no secret sauce that makes Ken-Co Homes successful. We work hard, sell the finest Clayton, Destiny, Scotbilt, Homes, and treat our customers like we would like to be treated. That's why, when you meet our team for your home tour, you'll be treated with respect and greeted with a warm smile. Whether you have questions regarding financing or the fit and finish of a floorplan, we'll maintain that same level of kindness, courtesy, and honesty. That way, you know for sure that you have invested in a top-notch manufactured home that your family will love.
Unlike other manufactured home dealers, we have a full selection of Clayton Homes for sale with attractive floor plans to fit your unique lifestyle. When you choose Ken-Co Homes, you're also choosing:
We offer our valued customers a $500 guarantee that we will meet or beat ANY competitor who has a lower price on one of our homes with the same options. Don't believe us? Contact our office today!
With decades of combined experience, our team has the tools and know-how to make your buying process smooth and stress-free.
Buying a home can be challenging, especially with travel logistics and other factors at play. Our team can help answer any questions you have about buying a home and transporting it to a park or piece of private land.
When you buy from Ken-Co Homes, you're investing in a high-quality product that your family will love for years to come. With more than a dozen home choices, you're sure to find a new home that matches your lifestyle.
We'll work with you one-on-one to ensure you get the home of your dreams. If you have questions or concerns once you move in, give us a call - we're here to help.
We offer detail-oriented, experienced set-up crews that make living life in your new home easy and efficient.
At Ken-Co Homes, we offer flexible financing options to help make buying your dream home a reality.
Whether you're looking for a smaller two-bedroom manufactured home or a large, luxurious four-bedroom manufactured home, our friendly consultants are ready to help you build the home of your dreams.
"Is there a difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home?" is one of the most common questions we get online and in person. Today, many people use mobile home and manufactured home interchangeably. That's understandable because both types of homes share similar features and benefits for homeowners. However, understanding the minor differences can be valuable when searching for a new place to call home.
Unlike site-built homes, manufactured homes are built in a factory. Once completed, they're shipped to a specific location where the homeowner will live. The term "manufactured home" refers to any factory-built home constructed after June 15, 1976. That date is when the HUD or U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development implemented guidelines centered around manufactured home construction.
HUD code requires manufactured homes to be constructed on a base frame with wheels with a minimum of 320 square feet.
Thanks to fast build times and lower material costs, manufactured homes for sale in Sardis, SC is often more cost-effective for home buyers. Compared to traditional site-built homes, many manufactured homes can be up to 35% less than more traditional houses.
Any mobile homes built after June 15, 1976, are considered manufactured homes today, though many people use the term mobile home casually. In the past, these homes were used to travel and were more like the expensive RVs that people use today than true manufactured homes. Back then, mobile homes received a bad reputation due to poor build quality, but they've come a long way since that time. Today, mobile homes are safe, comfortable, and structurally sound, with many types of amenities and floor plans.
Manufactured homes are more popular in the U.S. than ever, and for good reason: prospective homeowners are looking for affordable, quality alternatives to traditional homes. That's especially true today, with inflation on the rise, necessitating more budget-friendly options for anyone who wants to put a roof over their heads.
If you're used to living in a traditional, site-built home, you may be wondering what the advantages are of buying a manufactured home. Here are just a few of the most common benefits of buying a manufactured home:
When you boil it down to the basics, buying a new home is all about the money. One of the most attractive reasons for buying a manufactured home is that they are often much less expensive than traditional site-built homes. Today, manufactured housing is considered a crucial part of the housing shortage solution and a viable option with inflation rising. According to statistics, the average square-foot cost of a site-built home is $107, while the average price is only $49 in a manufactured home. Whether you're sticking to a strict budget or your finances have changed due to poor economic conditions, going manufactured might be your best choice.
Owning a manufactured home gives the homeowner long-term living options. Because basic manufactured homes are usually very affordable, families with enough land can start with a small home and add additional units as their needs change. Manufactured homes are also great as starter homes, especially for families that plan on building a permanent structure on their land in the future. Though it could be logistically challenging, manufactured homes can also be moved to a different site if the initial one was on rented property.
Manufactured homes have received a bad rap over the last few decades. In reality, most manufactured homes are purpose-built for longevity with structural integrity. Every manufactured home built today is subject to the HUD code adopted in 1976. This code is the only federally-mandated code in existence. It was designed to ensure that manufactured homes meet strict standards regarding fire safety, structural design, energy efficiency, transportation to home sites, and overall construction. All manufactured homes sold in the U.S. have a permanent red seal to confirm they meet HUD standards.
When you buy a manufactured home, you may be able to move in faster than you would via traditional routes. Some manufactured homes are even move-in ready in less than 45 days. Compared to a traditional home, once a new manufactured home is built in the factory, buyers usually find that installation is a quick process. Once the manufactured home is delivered, utility work usually moves quickly, regardless of whether you're moving to a park or transporting your home to a piece of land. Before you know it, you're eating, sleeping, and enjoying life in your new manufactured home.
When asked about the pros and cons, many buyers cite energy efficiency as one of the most significant benefits of owning a manufactured home. In general, manufactured housing is more energy efficient than traditional because HUD mandates ensure that homes have high energy efficiency ratings.
These ratings are achieved through upgraded insulation installation, on-demand water heaters, and energy-efficient windows. These upgrades often make entire manufactured homes Energy Star certified. It's no surprise that manufactured homes are 27% more efficient than they used to be with other additions like energy-saving appliances in kitchens and bathrooms.
If you've ever lived in an apartment complex before, chances are you heard sounds and noises through your walls that you never wanted to hear. If you hate hearing your neighbors and despise thin walls, looking for mobile home sales in Sardis, SC is a great idea. Why? Manufactured homes are typically built using separate modules, which reduces sound transference from room to room. When two or more modules are combined and insulated separately, buyers enjoy an even quieter, stronger home with less outside noise.
If there's one disappointing aspect of manufactured homes, the stigma seems to surround them. Yes, mobile homes from 30 or more years ago aren't exactly marvels of construction and deserve to be criticized. However, modern manufactured homes are cut from a different cloth and are often every bit as safe and luxurious as site-built homes.
Here are some of the most common (and annoying) mobile home myths debunked:
Modern manufactured homes are factory-built homes crafted with quality materials that meet comprehensive federal construction and safety standards. These standards, called the "HUD Code," outline how the homes must be built, including safety guidelines. For example, manufactured home builders must take strict measures to ensure their homes are resistant to wind. In terms of hurricanes and tornados, having such measures in place can prevent a tragedy from happening.
The bottom line is that manufactured homes are plenty safe and provide a quality product to people who want a lower-cost option over traditional housing.
One of the most repeated myths surrounding manufactured homes is that they are in poor shape and have an overall poor quality. Today, many manufactured homes are built with quality materials and care. It's not unusual to find a manufactured home with luxurious amenities and features lie state-of-the-art kitchens, high-end appliances, and chic open floor plans. At Ken-Co Homes, we can provide you with a complete list of available upgrades and amenities for you to enjoy in your new home.
Perhaps it's due to their popularity and lower prices, but we often hear that it's hard to find manufactured homes for sale. As seasoned home dealers, we can say this is categorically false. Whether you head over to Google and search for "mobile homes near me in Sardis, SC," or simply head to Ken-Co Homes' website, you'll see plenty of homes to choose from. Contact our office today for a full list of our homes for sale!
When it comes to home prices in today's day and age, manufactured homes are among the most affordable options available.
That's because manufactured homes cost less to construct than site-built homes, with the average price costing $92K for new construction and $60K for a pre-owned manufactured home, according to recent data. The cost of a traditional home is much higher, with an average of $408K, according to Statista data from 2021. Even though manufactured home living costs change depending on the community, they're often much less expensive than their site-built cousins in the long run.
This myth parallels the stereotype that manufactured homes are cheap and poorly built. Unfortunately, many people still believe that living in a manufactured home community isn't safe. They think that the parks are run down and riddled with reprobates. In reality, many manufactured home parks mimic gated communities with 24-hour security and mandated quiet hours. Some manufactured home neighborhoods even offer community-wide amenities like spas and pools. If you're a fan of the gated community lifestyle but don't want to pay hundreds of thousands for a site-built home, a manufactured home community could be your best bet.
Are you giving serious thought to buying a manufactured home for sale in South Carolina? You're not alone - more than 365K people in the Palmetto State live in manufactured homes. At Ken-Co Homes Inc., we're not your average run-of-the-mill manufactured home dealer. We only do business with manufacturing partners committed to building top-quality products that our customers are proud to own.
If you're looking for modern amenities, energy-efficient appliances, unique floorplans, and homes constructed with quality materials, Ken-Co Homes is the company for you. Contact our office today to learn more about our beautiful Clayton homes for sale in Sardis, SC.
Around Columbia, it seems like everyone has his or her own way of making pimento cheese. Some go the traditional cheese-pimento-mayo route, and others dress it up with additional spices or bacon. Sometimes it’s a dip, and sometimes it’s slathered atop a burger patty.When it comes to one of the South’s most beloved food icons, we don’t discriminate. But we did want to taste test the wide variety of pimento cheese offerings around town. And boy, did we.No Name Deli – Pimento cheese sandwichNo ...
Around Columbia, it seems like everyone has his or her own way of making pimento cheese. Some go the traditional cheese-pimento-mayo route, and others dress it up with additional spices or bacon. Sometimes it’s a dip, and sometimes it’s slathered atop a burger patty.
When it comes to one of the South’s most beloved food icons, we don’t discriminate. But we did want to taste test the wide variety of pimento cheese offerings around town. And boy, did we.
No Name Deli – Pimento cheese sandwich
No Name’s sandwich has a generous helping of pimento cheese stuffed between two slices of plain bread. The mayo-based cheese is gloopy and flavorful with a kick of spiciness. Overall it’s filling and messy. Eat with two hands, and keep napkins nearby.
▪ Get it: 2042 Marion St.
Di Prato’s – Pimento cheese with pita chips
Di Pratos has a reputation for having one of the best – if not the best – pimento cheese in town. Dianne Light’s restaurant and deli go through about 500 pounds of the stuff per week.
The pimento cheese is dense and chunky with a blend of five cheeses, but what really makes it are the pita chips it’s served with. Crunchy and salty on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside, they are the real MVP.
▪ Get it: 342 Pickens St.
Michael’s Café & Catering – B.Y.O. Grilled Cheese
Spring for the pimento cheese for an extra $1.50. The sandwich is lightly toasted on the outside but not super melted on the inside because the grated cheese is chunky. It’s basically a deluxe Southern upgrade on a normal grilled cheese. You’ll probably never go back to Kraft after trying this.
▪ Get it: 1620 Main St.
Oh yes. The enormous but totally manageable #pimentocheeseburger at #rockawayathleticclub in Columbia, SC. With a glorious amount of cheese. Ran into the guys from @bourbonscout too!
A post shared by George Motz (@motzburger) on Dec 29, 2015 at 11:59am PST
Rockaway Athletic Club – Pimento cheeseburger
It ain’t fancy, but it sure is good. Rockaway’s signature pimento cheeseburger is a slightly runny, cheesy mess that hits the spot every time.
▪ Get it: 2719 Rosewood Drive
Jake’s Bar & Grill – Smothered Chicken Biscuit
You can only get it on Sundays, but it’s worth the wait if you can eat pimento cheese for breakfast, right? The smothered chicken biscuit oozes pimento-cheese-infused sausage gravy, which can be sopped up by the fries on the side. The BAE biscuit with pimento cheese is another solid option.
▪ Get it: 2112 Devine St.
Bourbon – Creole pimento cheese
Bourbon’s pimento cheese schmear-y spread has a Tabasco-like heat that lingers after each bite.
▪ Get it: 1214 Main St.
Oak Table – Pimento cheese with crostini
Oak Table’s pimento cheese is super smooth and creamy. It’s served warm and is more like queso than your typical PC dip. The chives and char on top give it a smoky flavor. At $11, it’s a bit higher price point, but worth it.
▪ Get it: 1221 Main St.
Pawley’s Front Porch – Caw Caw Creek burger
Dig into the jalapeño pimento cheese, pickled green tomato, applewood-smoked bacon and grilled onions. Or, for a slightly different take, get the Isle of Palms burger that has regular pimento cheese with jalapeño bacon. Note: If you go during peak lunch and dinner hours, be prepared to wait.
▪ Get it: 827 Harden St.
Gourmet Shop – Make Your Own Sandwich
You gotta love the pimento cheese here. Order it off the “Make Your Own Sandwich” menu. We recommend toasted sourdough with lettuce and bacon. The pimento cheese texture is spot-on, with a homemade-esque grated cheese. You also can buy pimento cheese from the deli case by the pound.
▪ Get it: 724 Saluda Ave.
The Whig – Jalapeño pimento cheese fries
Absolutely smothered in cheese, with a slight kick from the jalapeño, these fries can be a full meal for two people. Great with a beer, or sopping up the beer already in your system.
▪ Get it: 1200 Main St.
Tallulah – Pimento cheese and crackers
The pimento cheese at Tallulah’s has a hint of smoky heat. Ask for extra toasted crackers to even out the cheese-to-bread ratio. Bonus: it’s half price during happy hour.
▪ Get it: 2400 Devine St.
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This story was originally published May 10, 2017, 9:11 AM.
It is asparagus season in South Carolina.Unbeknownst to many, there happen to be two large asparagus farms within an hour’s drive of Columbia – in Ridge Spring and Monetta.Last Friday, I drove out to the Monetta Asparagus Farm, run by the Andrew Fallaw family, to purchase some fresh-from-the-field asparagus. Andrew, himself, met me at the farm’s storage cooler/farm store and after purchasing a box of fresh cut asparagus (10 pounds for $38), was kind enough to show me around the fields.Now I must admit t...
It is asparagus season in South Carolina.
Unbeknownst to many, there happen to be two large asparagus farms within an hour’s drive of Columbia – in Ridge Spring and Monetta.
Last Friday, I drove out to the Monetta Asparagus Farm, run by the Andrew Fallaw family, to purchase some fresh-from-the-field asparagus. Andrew, himself, met me at the farm’s storage cooler/farm store and after purchasing a box of fresh cut asparagus (10 pounds for $38), was kind enough to show me around the fields.
Now I must admit that I had never seen asparagus actually growing. I mean, you just see the spears in the stores so I wasn’t really sure what it looked like in the dirt.
Seems I passed a semi-harvested field on the way in without realizing it. Asparagus, in fields that have mature plants (I’ll get back to this in a minute), just erupt from the Earth as single spears that can grow in height up to a foot a day. Fallaw said that this is what makes harvesting the veggie so labor intensive; it must be done every day during the growing season so that the stalks hitting the stores are still tender and not woody.
His farm grows both a thin-spear variety and a thicker one. He said it’s a misunderstanding that the thinner the spear, the more tasty it will be. (I will try convincing my sister of this!)
It takes three years for asparagus to mature enough to be harvested. In the meantime, younger plants are allowed to grow and “fern out,” as Fallaw puts it. The asparagus ferns may form seeds that will drop and create volunteers, which are plowed under after the season is over.
To prepare fresh asparagus, you do not necessarily have to peel it, just trim off the bottom of the stalks. The fastest, easiest way to cook asparagus is to get about a 10- to 12-inch saucepan and put about a half inch of water in the pan and bring it to a boil. Lay the asparagus in the pan and cook for about five-eight minutes (depending on the thickness of the asparagus spears) until the spears turn bright green.
Pick out a spear to check for doneness, it should be like pasta, al dente, with a bit of a bite. Remove the asparagus from heat and plunge into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. There’s nothing worse than overcooked, mushy veggies (unless you plan on making soup or puree).
Asparagus is one of those vegetables that loves to be served with a bit of fat: butter or cream sauces (the French traditionally use aioli (a garlic mayonnaise) for dipping asparagus or other spring vegetables such as steamed carrots, beans and new potatoes) ... or bacon or ham.
I have sauteed asparagus in a pan after frying bacon and then served it with the crispy bacon bits.
For the spring asparagus salad included here, I used butter to saute the vegetables and then added a little more butter to the pan after the asparagus was done and sauteed lemon slices to create a lemony butter sauce to use as a dressing.
Chef Brandon Veile, of Juniper restaurant in Ridge Spring, likes to dip asparagus spears in a light tempura batter before frying. And I have had prosciutto-wrapped and grilled asparagus at book club “brunches.”
Any way you prepare it, asparagus is a great versatile vegetable, a great taste of springtime on the plate.
Cut the asparagus into 1-inch lengths, saving eight tips for garnish. Simmer the shallot with the asparagus in the stock, covered, for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, steam the reserved tips until just tender and keep warm on the side.
Process the stock with the cooked shallots and asparagus in a blender or food processor until smooth, and pass through a strainer if necessary, if there are stringy bits left in the puree. Heat through and season to taste.
Work the butter and flour together into a paste, divide into smaller bits and, off the heat, whisk the small bits into the puree. Heat gently, stirring constantly, until thickened and well blended. Serve hot or chilled. Swirl the cream into each portion as you serve and garnish with asparagus tips.
Rosamond Richardson, “Food From Green Places: Vegetarian Recipes from Garden and Countryside” (Abbeville Press)
Zest the lemon and then slice lemon into 6-8 thin slices and set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter. Saute onions and tomatoes in the butter until onions are translucent and tomatoes are blistered. Remove onions and tomatoes from pan and set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to the pan and saute asparagus until tender but not overcooked, about 5-8 minutes (asparagus should be al dente). Remove asparagus from the pan and place on large plate or serving platter.
To the warm saute pan, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and the lemon slices. Saute the lemon slices until just brown, try to keep the round shape of the slices, and gently scrape the bottom of the pan to de-glaze. Remove lemon slices and reserve lemon butter sauce.
Arrange the salad: arrange lemon slices on top of the asparagus and spoon onions and tomatoes over lemons. Pour lemon butter sauce over salad, season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with lemon zest. Serve.
Prepare the aioli: Place crushed garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard and salt in a deep mixing bowl. Blend slowly with a mixer. Slowly add the olive oil, drop by drop, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Refrigerate before using.
Wash and trim the asparagus. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add some salt. Place asparagus in the water and boil, covered for about 5 minutes. Uncover and boil for another 3-5 minutes, asparagus tips should be tender while the stalks remain firm. Remove asparagus from water and place in ice water bath to stop cooking process.
Place 6-8 asparagus spears on each plate. Slice the hard boiled eggs in four, lengthwise, and arrange on the plate next to or on top of the asparagus. Pour aioli sauce over the center of the asparagus on each plate. Serve at room temperature.
Brother Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette, “In Celebration of the Seasons: Recipes from a Monastery Kitchen” (Ligouri/Triumph)
This story was originally published May 6, 2015, 10:40 AM.
The road to Whispering Pines farm and stables is just outside of downtown Mauldin.“The farm was here,” said Debbie Webster, “and the neighborhoods and businesses kinda grew around it.”Whispering Pines has been around since 1980, starting out as a horse farm and stable where Webster – also known as The Horse Lady – operated Upstate Equestrian Ministries and a therapeutic program for special needs children and a vocational program for high school students....
The road to Whispering Pines farm and stables is just outside of downtown Mauldin.
“The farm was here,” said Debbie Webster, “and the neighborhoods and businesses kinda grew around it.”
Whispering Pines has been around since 1980, starting out as a horse farm and stable where Webster – also known as The Horse Lady – operated Upstate Equestrian Ministries and a therapeutic program for special needs children and a vocational program for high school students.
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The sheep and goats arrived about 18 years ago, when the farm began live Nativity events. Shetland sheep and pygmy goats were raised as pets and for the wool. Debbie and her husband, Alan, head up the only 4H Dairy Sheep and Goat Club in the United States. They schedule volunteer opportunities for folks to come out and learn about the animals and life on the farm.
Debbie Webster’s life hasn’t always been easy. Injuries from an automobile accident in 2001 sidelined Webster’s horseback riding career. Then, about 13 years ago, Webster’s daughter began having digestive issues. The family looked to milking the goats and sheep as a substitute for cow’s milk in her diet. After a few seasons, and with so many animals, the Websters had to make a decision: either sell off the herds or license the farm.
Webster did her research. She learned how to make cheese from the sheep’s milk, attended cheese-making workshops, consulted papers from the University of Wisconsin and Clemson, and in the process, she found a new passion.
“You have to step up your game every year,” Webster said. “I want a standard of excellence, taking care of the animals, the milk and the cheese. Making a quality product.”
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On a recent day, walking into one of the fenced areas that holds younger animals, Webster said “the sheep are meek, a bit pitiful, and ... they’re uncoordinated. But ... they’re adorable. And they need a shepherd.”
A group of about a dozen 3-month-old sheep crowd around Webster, nudging her, waiting their turn for her to pet them and talk to them.
“People ask me all the time, ‘sheep’s milk, is that ‘a thing?’’ It is, but the sheep have a very short lactation cycle. Only 200 days,” Webster said. “And rarely do you get sheep to produce more than a half-gallon per day.” In comparison, goats and cows can produce milk continuously over a span of years – goats produce an average of three quarts a day, cows, six to seven quarts of milk each day.
“That’s why the milk is so expensive,” she said. “More labor, less milk. It’s basic economics,” why you’re paying $14/gallon for goat’s milk and upwards of $30/gallon for sheep’s milk.
And here’s the “thing” about sheep’s milk. It has twice the protein and fat of cow and goat’s milk, more carbs, vitamins C and B12, calcium and magnesium, and is the creamiest of the three. One gallon of goat milk will produce one pound of soft cheese. One gallon of sheep’s milk produces three pounds of soft cheese. And, like goat’s milk, sheep’s milk is naturally homogenized.
“We keep only the best of the best,” Webster said of her flock. “We have four generational lines” of Tunis sheep on the farm. “I can tell you who you got the milk from and when you got it.”
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“We’re trying to get to the point where we would have 20 ‘super-milking’ ewes so we can take better care of less animals.” Whispering Pines was USDA approved three seasons ago and the animals and the cheese-making process are regularly inspected.
This is the first year that Whispering Pines has been on the Upstate Farm Tour and – along with the goats, horses, chickens, rabbits, black Angus cattle and sheep – will be featuring tastings of their cheeses (soft, hard, whey, yogurt and kefir). The cheeses, yogurts, milk and farm fresh meats, eggs and wool products will be for sale during the tour.
Oh, and #sheepsmilkisathing.
This story was originally published June 14, 2016, 3:34 PM.
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City’s agreement with state and tribal entities to draw water from Sardis Lake is all settled – almost. While approving an update to an agreement resolving a decades-long legal battle, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt highlighted the proceedings as an example of how litigants can still be friends.“I know a lot of people have worked years on this,” said Holt at Tuesday’s Oklahoma City Council meeting, held by teleconference, of the revised agreement. “I think it’s a...
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City’s agreement with state and tribal entities to draw water from Sardis Lake is all settled – almost. While approving an update to an agreement resolving a decades-long legal battle, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt highlighted the proceedings as an example of how litigants can still be friends.
“I know a lot of people have worked years on this,” said Holt at Tuesday’s Oklahoma City Council meeting, held by teleconference, of the revised agreement. “I think it’s a great example of how you can have what is from a legal perspective an adversarial position but still be great partners and friends, in this case with the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation. Really there are no better friends to Oklahoma City than those nations, and we’ve been very grateful to work with them on numerous fronts. I’m glad we could come to a conclusion in this matter as well that was beneficial to all parties.”
The council on Tuesday was presented with a new version of the agreement signed in February 2019 between the city, the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, the state of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Choctaw Nation and the Chickasaw Nation.
The agreement acknowledges the water rights of the tribes and includes lake level release restrictions designed to protect the lake and its recreational value from harmful environmental impacts while allowing the city access to the water.
Oklahoma City had in 2010 paid off the state of Oklahoma’s unpaid multimillion-dollar bill with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for construction of Sardis Lake in the 1970s. In return, the city was to gain the ability to draw water from the lake in southeast Oklahoma. But in 2011, the Chickasaws and Choctaws filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against then-Gov. Mary Fallin, members of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the city of Oklahoma City over rights to Sardis Lake, which is actually a reservoir that was constructed in land under tribal jurisdiction according to original treaties.
“Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations will have a role in the evaluation of significant future water rights proposals,” reads Oklahoma City’s staff report on the agreement presented to the council dated May 2020. “The deal formalizes protections for the current and future water needs of the tribes and their surrounding communities, ensuring adequate water for southcentral and southeastern Oklahoma through the creation of a stream system as well as a set aside of 20,000 acre-feet of water from Sardis Lake for use within the ten-county area surrounding Sardis Lake.”
No substantive changes were made in the new version of the agreement regarding the rights and responsibilities of the city, Assistant City Attorney Craig Keith told members of the council. The original agreement required federal legislation with the president’s signature, which occurred in 2016. But the federal government has been working on the language in the years since, said Keith.
“The federal government went through another round of reviews,” said Keith. “They did make some changes as to language relating to the limited waiver of sovereignty of the nations and also some references in the document exhibits.”
“The federal review of the Settlement Act and the Settlement Agreement has now been completed and additional revisions were made to conform the Settlement to the Settlement Act,” reads the city staff report. “In addition, exhibits have been updated to conform with subsequent events and actions.”
After a couple of years, Sardis Lake was finished, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.But Oklahoma never paid the bill.Decades came and went, but state policymakers really didn’t worry too much about the Sardis bill. In fact, most of it went unpaid, until the Frank Keating administration when the state made two payments on the lake.Since then, those past-due notices have continued to pile up.Then, last fall, a federal court ordered the stay to pony up more than $25 million to the federal government; ...
After a couple of years, Sardis Lake was finished, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
But Oklahoma never paid the bill.
Decades came and went, but state policymakers really didn’t worry too much about the Sardis bill. In fact, most of it went unpaid, until the Frank Keating administration when the state made two payments on the lake.
Since then, those past-due notices have continued to pile up.
Then, last fall, a federal court ordered the stay to pony up more than $25 million to the federal government; it seemed the bill for Sardis had finally come due.
And it couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
Deep in a recession, Oklahoma lawmakers faced a $1.2 billion budget hole and there was no room for that extra $25 million they were going to have to come up with to pay the Sardis bill.
Enter Plan B.
Acting on behalf of Gov. Brad Henry, state Treasurer Scott Meacham began negotiating with the city of Oklahoma City to sell Sardis’ water storage rights to the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust. With several area cities and towns all purchasing water from Oklahoma City, the need to increase the available supply was a pressing one.
And Sardis looked like a bargain; the contract lists about $43 million for the lake; Meacham said that cost would be even higher because of interest and future use payments.
But Oklahoma City officials, the governor and the state treasurer didn’t count on the response from representatives of several of the state’s Indian tribes. The Choctaw, the Chickasaw and the Caddo tribes all sent letters that politely told state officials to stop what they were doing and talk to the Native Americans.
After those letters, the Army tersely reminded state officials that it, too, had an interest in the Sardis sale and had final say about whether or not a sale could go through.
That brings us to present day, where it looks like negotiations have slowed, but the fact remains that come July 1, the state of Oklahoma owes the federal government $5.2 million.
Struggling for answers, the state is looking to Oklahoma City, which is looking at the cities and towns around the area; the federal government is looking at the state to make good on its debt and the tribes are looking at everyone else wondering what exactly is going on.
Perhaps it’s time to get all the players at the table.
Sure, some officials will tell you the tribes “have been invited for some time but declined,” but what many policy leaders fail to realize is that our Native American neighbors don’t necessarily do business the same way as those of us who claim Anglo-Saxon blood.
Instead of pointing fingers, forcing a quick sale and causing a long and costly legal battle, Henry should convene a summit on the deal and bring all the players together. Once he has everyone in the room, the governor should bring in a few gallons of coffee and several boxes of donuts, then lock the door and announce that no one is leaving until they have all agreed on a deal.
Yeah, it may be ugly for a while. And yeah, it may take some time.
But the fact remains that it’s time to be smart about Sardis. It’s time to bring everyone to the table and talk – because Oklahoma can’t afford to do anything else.