ARCADIA — A billboard near the town's historic round barn is coming down.
Wind gusts prevented the removal of the sign Thursday, and forecasters predict the wind likely won't relent on Friday.
“We know it will be next week sometime,” said Sam Gillaspy, president of the Arcadia Historical and Preservation
Also known as “Mr. Sam,” Gillaspy and other barn supporters were incensed when a nearly 40-foot-tall billboard was built in 2010 on less than a tenth of an acre of land on the north side of State Highway 66, near the barn.
Residents and barn enthusiasts claimed the billboard obscured the view of the landmark, a common tourist attraction on the state's portion of the Mother Road.
“People literally from all over the world come down Route 66 to see the barn,” Gillaspy said.
The barn was donated to the historical society in 1988 and originally built in 1898.
Fred Mazaheri, owner of the billboard and principal of Mazaheri Properties in Oklahoma City, said he's glad an amicable solution was reached around the time of the 20th anniversary of the barn's restoration last month.
Though both sides are bound by terms of a confidentiality agreement, Mazaheri said he made a donation to the historical society. With that donation, the historical society was able to buy the land and the billboard.
“I appreciate and respect the efforts of the members of Arcadia Historical Society in working with us to resolve this issue in a positive way,” Mazaheri wrote in an emailed statement. “As an Oklahoman, I am proud to see the donation will assist with the state's tourism and attract more people to our great state.”
Gillaspy said the sign will be “disposed of.”
The sign was built in October 2010 and the dispute came to a head in the following weeks and months. Gillaspy said no one at the historical society knew the small plot of land had been for sale.
Mazaheri bought the plot in September 2010 for $2,400, county assessor records show.
Emotions were high during town hall meetings and when advertisements were put on the billboard.
Attempts to reach an agreement fell through.
The historical society filed a lawsuit in Oklahoma County District Court in May 2011, alleging the town hadn't properly issued a building permit for the sign, and that the billboard was not within the town's planning and zoning ordinances providing for a 75-foot setback from the highway.
The suit was dis