Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
The city will buy land for a small expansion to Crystal Beach Park.
City Commissioners approved the purchase of a property at 301 E. Cherry Ave. during their regular meeting Monday night in City Hall.
The approved purchase price was for $75,000, which City Manager Alan Riffel said was "negotiated down from the asking price."
Riffel said described the property as "approximately one and a quarter acres located at the north end of the Round Up Club Arena."
The property also includes an approximately 1,900 sq. ft. home.
"The purpose of considering the purchase of this property is because it is directly on the perimeter of our park," Riffel said, noting "we think there's value there to controlling access to that property and believe we can make use of the structure as well."
The city manager said currently "we have no specific plans," but are evaluating options for the use of the property and the home.
However, he did clarify that "we're not going to rent it, not going to sell it, we are going to use it. And it will be for park purposes, whatever we do. We're looking at our options."
Riffel said the main options are for use with the round up club or soccer facilities at the park. Due to the property's location, he said, "those would be the most logical."
HANGAR RENTAL CHANGES AT AIRPORT
A lot of discussion was had Monday night surrounding a new hangar rental agreement document and new hangar rental rate structure for West Woodward Airport.
As the city commission's representative on the Woodward Airport Board, Commissioner Steve Bogdahn explained some of the reasoning behind the new rental agreement and hangar rental rates.
Bogdahn said both measures were needed to make sure that the hangars were being used by people who really needed them.
"T-hangars were renting for $65 a month. But you can't even rent a storage shed for $65 in Woodward, let alone one big enough to store a plane," he said.
As such he said some of the hangars were being used "just as a storage unit; there was nothing remotely close to being related to an aircraft being stored inside."
At the same time he said there has been a pretty long waiting list of pilots wanting hangar space for their planes.
Even some of those hangars with planes stored inside were just housing planes that hadn't been flown in years, Bogdahn said. Thus they were taking up valuable space without generating any additional revenue for the airport since they weren't using any fuel or anything while they were grounded, he said.
So with the new hangar rental agreement, there is a section outlining "in order to store a plane out there it has to have been flown in the last 12 months," he said.
And the rental rates were raised anywhere from 30 to 50 percent, depending on the size of the hangar, to bring them more in line with what other facilities on average charge for similar hangar space, Bogdahn said.
In making the motion to approve the new hangar rental agreement and rates, which was unanimously approved by his fellow commissioners, Bogdahn said the ultimate goal is to ensure the hangars are used for storing planes that people actually use to fly and "not to use the city facilities for cheap storage."
In other action, city commissioners also approved a restatement of the management agreement with Dunn Golf Group, LLC for management services at Boiling Springs Golf Club.
City Attorney Aaron Sims said the restated agreement removes portions that related to the now completed rehabilitation phase at the course and focuses instead on operational responsibilities going forward now that the course is reopened.
The commissioners also approved Amendment #2 to the Woodward Streetscape Project agreement with Cardinal Engineering, Inc. for a $12,000 increase to pay for additional civil engineering services through Sept. 27, 2013.
Assistant City Manager Doug Haines said the increase is needed since the project has extended beyond the original contract time frame.
He explained the city hired Cardinal Engineering to perform inspections on the concrete that is poured for the new sidewalks downtown. Since more concrete is still needed to complete the project, Haines said the city needs to extend its contract with Cardinal Engineering.
Other matters approved Monday included:
• a renewal of lease agreement with Mewbourne Oil Company, which rents space on the city's Airport Water Tower for the installation and maintenance of a radio antenna at a rate of $600 per year;
• a new ordinance establishing a $250 fine for gas drive-offs in city limits so they may be prosecuted on a local level instead of having to go to district court;
• a revision to the city's Personnel Policy Manual regarding accumulation of up to 19 vacation days for those with 20 years or more service with the city; and
• the annual renewal of the interagency agreement with the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department regarding water services for Boiling Springs State Park.
UPDATE ON NEW FIRE STATION AND 34TH ST. PROJECTS
In his city manager's report, Riffel shared what the current timelines are for the new fire station and 34th Street projects following the Aug. 13 approval of the new half-cent sales tax which will generate funding for the projects.
He said that he plans to present commissioners with "the final preliminary design" for the 34th Street project at their next meeting.
Once approved, that preliminary design will then be submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to undergo an environmental review process, which "may take 18 to 24 months" to complete, Riffel said.
The environmental review is a requirement for the project since the city is expecting to receive up to $1.5 million in federal funding to help pay for the 34th Street improvements.
"And until we get that environmental review done we can not proceed with acquiring right of way and utility easements, which are also lengthy performances," Riffel said. "So we're probably 3 years away from actually beginning full construction."
Commissioner Roscoe Hill said he was "really disappointed" to hear that it could take 3 years before the 34th Street project could begin.
"I was hoping to get it done in my lifetime," he said.
In response, the city manager promised that the city will "do everything we can to speed up that timeline."
That includes working with the same USDA contacts the city worked with before when obtaining the 40 acres for the construction of the Conference Center, he said. He said those contacts were helpful in enabling the city to gain that property "a lot faster than anyone thought we could" and perhaps could be helpful again.
In contrast, Riffel said the new fire station project should move along a lot quicker.
He said crews will continue with the demolition of the construction site by removing all the current concrete in the coming months.
"By the first of January we should have all the concrete removed and we can go forward with letting bids with construction to begin by Feb. 1," the city manager said. "And all things being equal, I don't see anything delaying that."
Then as long as construction proceeds smoothly he said the new facility could be completed by the Spring of 2015.
"The expectation is we move into the facility between 12 to 14 months after we begin construction," Riffel said.