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Oklahoma City finds solution to tiff over Scout-built fence

Oklahoma City officials have drawn up a site plan to help a charity keep a fence around its community garden.
by William Crum Modified: February 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm •  Published: February 13, 2014

Marilyn Long needed a fence.

Boy Scout Timothy Roy built it.

But unless Long fills out a form and pays $22, Oklahoma City could order her to tear it down.

Long and Roy found each other through a Langston University program that links Scouts with projects to fulfill the service requirement to become an Eagle, Scouting's highest rank.

Long, 58, runs the Northeast Resource Center, a one-stop shop for the needy in the heart of one of Oklahoma City's most poverty-stricken neighborhoods.

“The people are so much in need, they can't give back,” Long said.

The center established a garden last year behind its building at 1415 NE 23.

The garden produced cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, squash and other fresh produce, Long said. Vegetables grown there helped feed those who stopped by the center's food pantry.

More than 5,000 people got free food last year, Long said.

Stray dogs tore up the garden, though, so Long was in the market for a fence this winter.

That's how Langston came to put her in touch with Roy, a senior at Bishop McGuinness High School and a member of Troop 120 at Christ the King Catholic Church.

Roy said he and his dad scouted the garden, then Roy took the fence proposal to his Eagle board of review.

After getting the go-ahead, Roy raised $955 for materials. He gathered a crew, and they drilled holes, set posts in concrete and installed fence panels.

His crew put in 82 hours, he said.

When they finished on Martin Luther King Jr. Day last month, a handsome three-and-a-half-foot-high cedar picket fence surrounded the garden.

“Miss Long was almost in tears, that's how happy she was,” Roy said.

Permit problems

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by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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