The Woodward News

November 20, 2013

Commission hears Streetscape update

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — At least for the time being, it doesn't appear that the city will be increasing its real estate holdings.

Woodward City Commissioners met in an executive session for almost 40 minutes during their regular meeting Monday night to discuss the possible purchase of some unidentified real property. But after returning to open session, the commissioners took no action regarding the undisclosed property.

However, the city commissioners did take action on a second change order from CGC, LLC the contractors on the Woodward Streetscape project. The commissioners unanimously approved the change order which was for an $8,900 increase in contract funds to cover the costs of “2 junction boxes that were required to put some of the infrastructure together,” City Manager Alan Riffel said.

Riffel said the new junction boxes and additional cost was necessary due to some elevation changes that arose as the Streetscape project developed.

Later during his city manager's report, Riffel told commissioners that the contractor, inspecting engineer, architect and city officials would be meeting later this week “to go through the project punch list as we work toward a final punch list.”

While the sidewalk renovation portion of the Streetscape project is finally nearing completion, Riffel said “there are still a number of items we will continue to address there.”

“There are some little details that have yet to be performed,” he said. “And anything that needs to be modified that doesn't meet current standards or things we won't accept workmanship on, we'll identify those and hold them to task on them.”

Also, Riffel told commissioners that the paving portion of the project, which will resurface a portion of Main Street, is being postponed.

“We're going to hold off on the paving until the spring time so as to not disrupt the downtown merchants during the holiday shopping period,” he said.

However, he said the paving project would be made “a first priority” in the new year.

Commissioner Roscoe Hill also made a brief comment on the Streetscape project, noting that he's actually been receiving some positive comments about the project.

“It's nice to get calls about how Main Street is looking other than the bad ones,” Hill said.

In other business Monday night, the city commission held a public hearing to accept comments regarding the refurbishing of the airport industrial airpark building which is now used for warehousing by Siemens.

Riffel said the public hearing was required as part of the close-out process for the 2 Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), each worth $1 million, that the city received to refurbish the airpark building.

Two of the 4 people who spoke during the hearing were LaVern Phillips and Alan Case II, both with the Woodward Industrial Foundation (WIF), the organization which actually owns the airpark building and which helped to bring Siemens to Woodward.

Both Phillips and Case thanked the commissioners for their role in helping secure the $2 million in CDBG funds to help pay for the refurbishing project. Case said that the WIF wasn't eligible to apply for those grants itself, so he appreciated the city stepping in to help out the project.

However, the other 2 people who addressed the commission during the hearing, Doug Eagon and Steve Snider, expressed concerns about the financial risk the city took on in accepting the grants on the Industrial Foundation's behalf.

Specifically, Eagon and Snider were upset that the city would be liable for repaying the grants should the airpark building be sold, especially since the city would have no say in whether the building could be sold since it is owned by WIF.

However, Case said that the city's potential financial liability decreases every year as part of a 20-year amortization clause included in the grant agreements. He said that this means after 20 years the city would owe nothing even if the WIF decided to sell the building.

But he said the Industrial Foundation has no plans to sell the building.

“We didn't get it to sell it, we got it for rental income,” he said.