Waggoner Ranch in the News
The Waggoner Ranch made news Friday for a story that saddens us deeply. Texoma’s Homepage News reports that hundreds of Lake Diversion residents are being forced to leave their homes by the ranch’s new owner, Stan Kroenke. This move by Kroenke, who purchased the ranch in February, is the latest in a string of changes on the ranch, which include closing the cook shack and bunkhouse.
Family ties on the Waggoner Ranch run deep. Many Lake Diversion residents have called the ranch their home for generations. According to Texoma’s Homepage News, the residents have received notice to vacate the premises and remove all property by January 31. You can watch NBC TV 3’s video coverage of this story here.
Lake Diversion residents own their homes but lease the land underneath. According to a GoFundMe page set up by a resident’s family member, homeowners were assured by the Waggoner family that any future owners would honor the lease. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
We are saddened by this news and will continue to follow the story closely. Our thoughts are with the many families facing the loss of their homes.
Updated August 11, 2016:
Outrage at Stan Kroenke’s decision to force out Lake Diversion residents has grown throughout the week. The Dallas Morning News picked up the story, saying, “Los Angeles Rams owner and billionaire Stan Kroenke is making people move again.” That’s right, again. Kroenke sparked the ire of St. Louis residents when he bought the St. Louis Rams then relocated them to Los Angeles. The team’s move inspired lawyer Terry Crouppen to take out a #SlamStan Super Bowl ad. The ad aired exclusively in the St. Louis area.
Of course, losing your local football team is hard; but losing your family’s home creates hardships than seem nearly impossible to overcome. Annette McNeil, a Lake Diversion resident, contacted the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after seeing the notice requiring residents to leave by January 31. The article published by the paper reveals the real struggle these residents are facing:
“McNeil said a neighbor recently spent nearly $40,000 renovating his place. She said another finalized a cabin purchase just six months ago. She said another received sticker shock when he requested an estimate to move his small metal house: $10,000.”
The residents of Lake Diversion trusted the ranch owners to respect the history of the ranch and continue the land lease. As that situation changes, many elderly and fixed income residents are facing enormous financial hardship, as well as the emotional blow of losing their homes.
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Author’s note: Cowboys of the Waggoner Ranch is not affiliated with the past or current owners of the ranch in any way. This book was independently published to document the lives of the working cowboys on the ranch.