Vice Mayor corrects record on controversial storefront vote

Guthrie City Council meeting from June 18, 2024.

During council comments at the July 2nd Guthrie City Council meeting, Vice Mayor Grant Aguirre took the floor to correct a statement he made during a previous meeting, addressing a contentious issue surrounding the consideration of a reconstruction of a historic storefront.

The council had upheld the Historic Preservation Commission’s narrow 3-2 vote to deny Blake Wimsey, owner of Foundation Insurance, the reconstruction of the storefront at 124 W. Oklahoma Ave.

The decision was made in Wimsey’s absence, as he was attending a family event. Councilman Brian Bothroyd had repeatedly attempted to postpone the hearing to allow Wimsey the opportunity to speak, questioning, “Why don’t we want to hear from the applicant?” Aguirre responded, “Because he had a very flippant attitude. He said that he did not care about the historic preservation one bit. He just wanted what was energy efficient.” Bothroyd asked, “That’s the conversation you had with him?” Aguirre confirmed, “Yep.”

Related article: Council upholds Historic Preservation decision on contested downtown storefront redesign

However, during the recent council meeting, Aguirre acknowledged his error: “I have been asked to correct the record for a comment I made during the last council meeting. Councilman Bothroyd had asked me a question. The question I thought I heard was ‘Did you hear that’ and the answer to that was ‘yes.’ I went back and reviewed the council meeting, and the question was ‘Did he say that to you personally’ and the answer to that would be no. So I have been asked to correct the record. So, that’s all I have. Thank you.”

Bothroyd, addressing Aguirre’s correction, stated, “You’re right Grant, I asked a pointed question and you responded to it a certain way. No skin in the game for me, but did that sway how the vote went? I don’t know. I am a believer in letting everyone be heard. No matter what. That is the position I have always took.”

Mayor Steve Gentling commended Aguirre for his accountability: “Vice Mayor Aguirre, I appreciate you taking accountability for your comments and correcting the record.”

Blake Wimsey expressed his disappointment in a statement to Guthrie News Page: “We are disappointed the council put me in a position where I was forced to choose between attending my daughter’s softball game and being present at this meeting. My application could have easily been considered at the next council meeting. Equally disappointing, a council member referenced having a conversation with me that never occurred which appeared to sway a majority of the council against our proposal. We just want to repair the damaged storefront with materials previously approved by the council on another building and be able to move our staff into our new offices so we can continue to serve this community.”

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